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Microsoft Businesses The Almighty Buck

Microsoft Spends $9 Billion On Research, Focuses On Cloud 133

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the time-to-double-down dept.
superapecommando writes to share that Microsoft appears to be going all-out on research in the coming year, with a great focus on the cloud. They're supposedly planning to spend $9.5 billion in R&D; that's $3 billion more than the next-closest tech company. "'Especially in light of the tough difficult macroeconomic times that we're coming out of, we chose to really lean in and double down on our innovation,' [Microsoft COO Kevin] Turner said. Turner contended that Microsoft has more cloud services than any other company, ranging from its consumer email service to hosted enterprise products such as its Dynamics CRM (customer relationship management) system to its Azure cloud operating system. 'We're going to change and reinvent our company around leading in the cloud.'"
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Microsoft Spends $9 Billion On Research, Focuses On Cloud

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  • In other words... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pushing-robot (1037830) on Friday March 05, 2010 @02:55PM (#31373982)

    "...We're not sure our OS and Office monopoly will last forever, so we'd really like to see if we could actually turn a profit on something else."

    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by Pojut (1027544)

      Pretty much...

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Reason58 (775044)

      "...We're not sure our OS and Office monopoly will last forever, so we'd really like to see if we could actually turn a profit on something else."

      If you aren't growing, you're dying. True for any business.

      • by liquidpele (663430) on Friday March 05, 2010 @03:13PM (#31374240) Journal
        That's MBA bullshit.
        • True, but MBAs and the over-testosteroned in general are famous for believing their own BS.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            True, but MBAs and the [microcephalics] in general are famous for believing their own BS.

            Calling marketing as 'research' doesn't make it research, no matter how true believers the MBAs get.

        • by ircmaxell (1117387) on Friday March 05, 2010 @04:57PM (#31375476) Homepage
          Well, it's not BS. It's incomplete. It should be: If you're not growing or giving your customers a reason to stay, you're dieing... The caveat is that "giving your customers a reason to stay" in MS lingo is "Let's lock them into something so hard, that once they are a customer, they can never go somewhere else without a HUGE migrating expense"...
          • by h4rm0ny (722443)

            That has been the case. But Google and Apple and Linux might have given MS the shock they need. Disraeli described China as "a sleeping dragon". Microsoft may not be dissimilar. They have vast financial resources, an enormous userbase. What they may be capable of if they wake up and use that could be fantastic. And I think we're now starting to see signs that they're doing so. Windows 7 is a nice jump forward. The Courier looks interesting. Bing is as good as Google (actually, the image search is a bit nic
        • In the tech industry it is totally true. I don't see many 100MB hard-drive manufactureres out there these days....
        • by curunir (98273) *

          A few years ago, I had the opportunity to accompany a family member who was acting as a faculty chaperon on a business school trip to Japan to meet with various CEOs of companies there. My favorite visit, for numerous reasons, was to meet with the CEO of a 500-year-old, family-run, sake brewer. During the Q&A, the MBA students kept asking variations of the same question about how he was planning to grow the business. They'd ask about international expansion plans or marketing campaigns inside Japan and

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        People that believe that probably also believe in perpetual, unbounded growth (population, profit, etc.) within a closed system (the Earth). It is not possible.

        Businesses that will succeed in the future will do so without requiring unsustainable, endless growth. I don't know how to do that, but the first guy to figure it out is going to be really, really rich.

        • Businesses that will succeed in the future will do so without requiring unsustainable, endless growth. I don't know how to do that, but the first guy to figure it out is going to be really, really rich.

          I think he'll be reasonably rich.

    • Wonder what Google is doing then as 90% of their revenue is ads... At least MS has a handful of significant revenue streams compared to the 1 google has...
    • by alen (225700) on Friday March 05, 2010 @03:13PM (#31374250)

      Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer have always said that they knew Windows and Office won't last forever. in the last 10 years they expanded into video games, business software, database servers, general IT servers for IT management, etc.The "cloud" is just a buzzword. few months ago i was reading some article about how someone was deploying servers for some internal project. and the article said they were building out a private cloud.

      most of the cloud nonsense is for small businesses. i've helped a few build infrastructure and it's a waste of money buying servers, Windows Server licenses, etc. easier and cheaper to outsource it to Azure, Google or someone else.

      for larger businesses hardware is so cheap that it doesn't make sense. We're about to buy a few $15,000 servers when the new Intel CPU's come out. 2 6 core CPU's, 72GB of RAM, 500GB to 1TB of hard drive space, all kinds of monitoring capability, etc for $15,000 each.

      i was talking to an IT sales person the other day and he didn't even try to sell an hardware to us. he kept on pushing services. servers are a commodity made in China by little kids. just like ipods. I guess services is the next frontier to try to squeeze some profits

      • Re:In other words... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by dave562 (969951) on Friday March 05, 2010 @03:34PM (#31374504) Journal

        I'm dealing with a lot of the same issues that you mentioned. Specifically the SMB market and the move toward online hosting of services. What I've been finding is that although you can realize a savings in hardware cost, you end up losing some of those savings by having to bring in faster and redundant internet feeds.

        Where have you seen the dividing line materialize for the decision to keep it in house versus move it offsite?

        • by alen (225700)

          i calculated the cost of a 64GB 8 core server 24x7 at EC2 and it came out to something like $6000 a year. This will run you $10,000 to $13,000 total for a HP PRoliant DL 380 G5.

          it's very simple. you buy a server onsite you can use regular hard drives, etc. Amazon and the other cloud providers have to buy all kinds of expensive SAN's and redundancy. In practice they have to buy two servers to let you host your one server that you will buy normal hard drives for.

          then there are upgrades. our server purchases t

          • by dave562 (969951)

            The server hardware costs are easy enough to figure out. We're using similar boxes here (Proliant ML370s). The boxes I was looking at came out to about $8000. They were similar to yours, but had one processor instead of two and 8GB of RAM instead of 64. I could see them hitting $10000.

            Where is the break even point? I still have G2 / G3 Proliant boxes running in production. Those are seven plus years old at this point. Even with warranty costs, and assuming you spend $10000 up front on the hardware, t

            • by alen (225700)

              we run MS Terminal Services which is Citrix lite and the ratio is 10 people per server or so. I think the reason they run it is we serve big customers and they don't want to pay for network bandwidth to small offices to run local apps. but we don't run it with dumb terminals on the desktop. if the TS server crashed people would just run apps on the desktop.

              if you run the dumb terminal deal it's still going to be way more expensive than buying and supporting desktops. Windows 7 works fine on 5 year old hardw

              • by dave562 (969951)

                I wish Windows 7 ran fine on 5 year old hardware. Maybe the OS runs, but once you start running anything on top of the OS it is TERRIBLE. Luckily I don't really have to be concerned with licensing costs. I work for a 501c3 non-profit and Microsoft practically gives us software. It is the application licensing costs that kill us. Our CRM system cost us over $20,000 last year in licensing and maintenance/support.

                Why did you go with Terminal Services over Citrix? Citrix seems to make it much easier to pu

                • by drsmithy (35869)

                  I wish Windows 7 ran fine on 5 year old hardware. Maybe the OS runs, but once you start running anything on top of the OS it is TERRIBLE.

                  It does run fine on 5 year old hardware. Heck, with a video card upgrade, it runs quite usably on *10* year old hardware.

                • by atamido (1020905)

                  It seems like the limiting factor is the five year old hard drives. I'm not sure if perspective is changing, or if drives actually get slower over time. But the easiest upgrade for any old system that has 2GB of RAM already is to replace the hard drive with a newer one. I think a 5 year old system would run Windows 7 (with Aero turned off fine), as long as you have 2GB of RAM and a new drive.

                  As far as Citrix, Citrix costs money. It also adds an extra layer of things to go wrong. Citrix feels like the b

            • by alen (225700)

              meant running physical hardware is cheaper. especially when some SQL queries request GB's of data

          • by zero0ne (1309517)

            you can do a lot of things in VMWare to get over that hurdle, some supported by VMWare, and others not.

        • Where have you seen the dividing line materialize for the decision to keep it in house versus move it offsite?

          When your costs are lower having it offsite than from supporting it internally, whether it's with internal IT staff or outsourced support. Just run total costs both ways. Don't forget to take intangibles into account though as well.

      • by bmajik (96670)

        for larger businesses hardware is so cheap that it doesn't make sense. We're about to buy a few $15,000 servers when the new Intel CPU's come out. 2 6 core CPU's, 72GB of RAM, 500GB to 1TB of hard drive space, all kinds of monitoring capability, etc for $15,000 each

        Still, no matter how many computers you buy and how expensive you make them, paying humans to keep them running is going to be the largest portion of IT costs.

        The question is: do you want your organization to become a lean-n-mean specialist in ke

        • by seifried (12921)
          It doesn't have to be either/or. For example the majority of companies I have dealt with simply buy city water/electricity. If they need a higher grade/etc. they may do things like buy UPSs, line conditioners, backup generators, etc. For water I see chip makers and hospitals/etc. that have expensive water filtration systems to bring the water up to what they need (as opposed to running their own pipe into the river). I suspect computing will go the same way. A lot of people will be happy with whatever outso
      • Software is at least 10 years behind hardware. In other words if they stopped making any progress in hardware it would be at least 10 years before software was developed to get anywhere close to the maximum benefits that the hardware is capable of accomplishing. Microsoft should be able to offer all hardware for free with a subscription of 2 or more years of their cloud computing. We should be able to offer enough services that even the fee would be better than free since the services should be able to s
      • The "cloud" is just a buzzword.

        Tell that to Amazon.com
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dave562 (969951)

      Microsoft sees the future and it is about to run them over. A lot of organizations don't want to eat the hardware costs associated with Office upgrades every three to five years. Microsoft is offering to host the applications online. From what I've heard about Office 2010, they aren't doing a very good job yet.

      At this point it looks like they're in a race with Google. Google is trying to add functionality to bring Docs on par with Office. Microsoft is trying to get Office online before Google replicate

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by stephanruby (542433)

        At this point it looks like they're in a race with Google. Google is trying to add functionality to bring Docs on par with Office. Microsoft is trying to get Office online before Google replicates enough of the functionality to destroy Microsoft's licensing stream.

        Wrong. Microsoft isn't just in a race against Google. It's in a race against pretty much everyone.

        Take for instance its SQL Server, one of its traditional cash cows. Several years ago, my company was paying Microsoft $11,000 for a license of SQL Server 2000 (Standard Edition). A couple years later, we were paying a very small fraction of that cost for the SQL Server 2005 (Workgroup edition) without any noticeable loss of prior functionality (and no significant loss of the very nice tools/wizards that came

        • by dave562 (969951)

          So in that sense, it's not looking too good for Microsoft's future right now, and it's not even clear if Microsoft's new strategy will help that much either. By going for the cloud, Microsoft may continue to undercut in price its very own products (not just its rivals), so it may be able to conserve some of its marketshare, but at a much more rapid and significant loss financially.

          I think you're right on target with your analysis of the situation. We always hear tales of Ballmer's rant about "Developers,

        • Wrong. Microsoft isn't just in a race against Google. It's in a race against pretty much everyone.

          Take for instance its SQL Server, one of its traditional cash cows. Several years ago, my company was paying Microsoft $11,000 for a license of SQL Server 2000 (Standard Edition). A couple years later, we were paying a very small fraction of that cost for the SQL Server 2005 (Workgroup edition) without any noticeable loss of prior functionality (and no significant loss of the very nice tools/wizards that came w

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft has gotten very pathetic. They're investing billions researching a near-meaningless buzzword? Talk about grasping at straws.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jschmitz (607083)
      I couldn't agree more "cloud computing/hosting/whatever is a vague term used like any other buzz term. I just see it as a platform where the resources should be allocated automatically and the underneath system takes care of having those available. The same failure points are there. You're just putting the trust and management to someone else. Even if they do have backup plans and certain levels of redundancy, it can always fail. Cloud computing isn't something magical. “Similarly datacenters fail,
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Logic is out. Buzzwords and shiny interfaces are in. Apple proves that to you.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      You are a retard.

      Which is more credible:

      a) Microsoft pays very intelligent, very educated people ridiculous sums of money to make sound business plans and they realize cloud computing is going to be a major factor in the coming years.

      b) Some dipshit on SlashDot is smarter than all these people and "knows" that cloud computing is just a "near-meaningless buzzword".

      Jesus Christ. I can just see that ridiculous sneer on your fact over that unkempt, patchy bear that covers half your fat neck.

  • A prudent move, since "cloud" would turn the Windows/Office business model upside down.
  • Obvious question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by paiute (550198) on Friday March 05, 2010 @03:00PM (#31374046)

    Has anyone checked to see if Microsoft has trademarked the word "Cloud"?

  • by melted (227442) on Friday March 05, 2010 @03:01PM (#31374062) Homepage

    Research costs Microsoft about $700M a year, probably less now after the recent belt tightening and layoffs.

    R&D means everything that's involved in creating products, including developers, testers, program management, management, non-sales executive pay, etc, etc., and yes, research as well.

    • That money is also paying their patent lawyers to make patent thickets too.

    • At a previous employer, I was asked by management to estimate how much time I spend doing "research", left undefined. The explanation - it's for tax purposes, and we can get a credit for research.

      I'm not going to say I read the relevant laws to find the definition, but I did follow company policy and made a best guess based on what I thought should reasonably qualify under a sane tax system. So although I didn't claim anything that a normal person would call foul, I'm sure there were some hours that would

  • by ircmaxell (1117387) on Friday March 05, 2010 @03:02PM (#31374092) Homepage
    Azure is definitely interesting... It's distributed programing model does look to have some advantages. But I think it won't take off like Amazon's has for a few reasons...

    First off, there are no computing containers. What I mean by that is you can only run applications on Azure, not whole operating systems. This does have some efficiency gains (in that you don't have an added OS layer in the middle, but it VASTLY increases the tie-in to the system, and prevents you from doing simple things like adding a server template to turn on if your site gets a lot of load.

    Second, It requires applications to be custom written for the environment. You can't trivially port a ready-made application from a single server to Azure... While this is good on the efficiency side, it's not good for the weekend warrior or small businesses who want to remain portable and flexible...

    Third, it's only on their cloud. You have to trust MS's infrastructure. And you need to trust MS with YOUR data... It's not like amazon's offerings where clones have popped up that are compatible (so you could recreate your own cloud if you wanted to, or use a competitors)... So that locks you in to their system. My guess, is that most sizable companies won't like this at all...

    I'm not saying people won't use it. I'm not saying people won't like it. What I am saying is that it is not playing in the same field as the other "Cloud" computing platforms. IF MS opens up Azure (at least in a binary form) where you can install it on your own infrastructure, then it may have a shot. If they allow guest operating systems, then it may have a shot. But without both, I think there's just too much tie-in to be comfortable (and base your business around)...

    Disclaimer: This is based on a presentation which I attended by the lead engineer for Azure back in December of 08. Things may have changed since then, but I haven't kept up with it specifically...
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Wait a minute. I'm a manager, and I've been reading a lot of case studies and watching a lot of webcasts about The Cloud. Based on all of this glorious marketing literature, I, as a manager, have absolutely no reason to doubt the safety of any data put in The Cloud.

      The case studies all use words like "secure", "MD5", "RSS feeds" and "encryption" to describe the security of The Cloud. I don't know about you, but that sounds damn secure to me! Some Clouds even use SSL and HTTP. That's rock solid in my book.

      An

      • by gbjbaanb (229885)

        My main concern isn't with the security of The Cloud, but rather with getting my Indian team to learn all about it so we can deploy some first-generation The Cloud applications and Web Services to provide the ultimate platform upon which we can layer our business intelligence and reporting, because there are still a few verticals that we need to leverage before we can move to The Cloud 2.0.

        Boss, what are you doing posting on /. ?

        It sure isn't a +5 Funny post, its actually depressingly worrying.

  • Last time Microsoft invested big into R&D in the recent couple of years, we got the Mojave Experiment Project [microsoft.com], which was a brainwashing to non-tech people who didn't have a clue anyway. At least they are throwing their money towards a new tech buzz like cloud computing and dumping it into convincing people Vista is great, when it wasn't. First impressions are everything, we all know that. We all know by now throwing money at problems that can't be solved by money doesn't work. Maybe Microsoft will m
  • I have no doubt that Microsoft's R&D is staffed with talented people.

    I have my doubts that the Product Marketing and Sales side would turn any of it into anything of value though. In the history of innovative companies, they all tend to develop such powerful resistance to risk taking that all of the market potential in their R&D will just waste away.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      I d. They show very little for the amount of money they spend.

      Either the people aren't that talented, or motivated, ot the are focusing too much in a small amount of areas, or MS has no fucking idea how to take promising ides and get them out of the lab.

      They can certainly buy something that someone else has managed to get to a small market.

      I understand RnD is a tough nut to show progress, and I understand most RnD items will not pan out.

      For the amount of money they spend in RnD, they sure to play catchup an

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In the past ten years MS has probably spent $50B on R&D ... what does it have to show ?

  • Watch This (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Slash.Poop (1088395) on Friday March 05, 2010 @03:08PM (#31374166) Homepage
    Watch /. tear apart Microsoft for even mentioning the word "cloud".
    When just yesterday /. was praising Ubuntu working on the "cloud".

    http://linux.slashdot.org/story/10/03/03/1947235/Ubuntu-Desktop-In-the-Cloud [slashdot.org]
    • Re:Watch This (Score:4, Informative)

      by Svenne (117693) on Friday March 05, 2010 @03:37PM (#31374534) Homepage

      Did you actually read the comments?

      "Let's Open-Source the cloud (Score:2, Interesting)
      by Anonymous Coward writes: on Wednesday March 03, @08:50PM (#31349408)

      Then we can run our own cloud and connect to it from wherever we want. There's a snowball's chance in hell I'm going to run my desktop on hardware that is out of my control, but for local applications, that might be interesting."

      ---

      "Cost prohibitive? (Score:3, Insightful)
      by bsDaemon (87307) writes: on Wednesday March 03, @09:00PM (#31349544)

      EC2 charges based on CPU time and bandwidth usage, so this sounds like it'd end up eating up a monthly fee of ~$netbook per month. Why would anybody want to spend their money on this?"

      ---

      "i never saw the point of cloud desktops (Score:3, Interesting)
      by alen (225700) writes: on Wednesday March 03, @09:55PM (#31350268)

      hardware is dirt cheap and getting cheaper. you can buy a powerful server for cheap as well. but after you buy the Citrix or whatever licenses, a few more servers for redundancy, a ton of storage at enterprise prices, the enterprise hardware support, increase network bandwidth etc the savings vanish and it's cheaper to just buy regular desktop machines.

      same thing with EC2. by the time you put in the network hardware and new circuits and pay Amazon for 24x7 instances it's cheaper to just buy desktops. i'm typing this on a 5 year old HP that runs windows 7 just fine.

      i bet all this cloud nonsense is enterprise hardware companies trying to push higher margin products and no real trend that anyone is doing. the numbers just don't work out"

      ---

      No? Check.

      Just felt like bitching? Check.

      • by bit01 (644603)

        Just felt like bitching? Check.

        Look at his posting history. Even his username. He's probably an M$ astroturfer trying to create the perception that slashdot is biased because it's independent and doesn't toe the M$ propaganda line.

        Standard marketing technique; try to create the "everybody's doing it" vibe to break anti-M$ viewpoints and promote M$ propaganda. Every story about M$ has several posters claiming that /. is biased when there are always posts from all points of view. Many are simply people in M

  • Back when MS missed getting in on the rise of the internet, they played catch-up for years. They didn't "get" the internet at first, and that cost them dearly for a while. To this day MS is not really known as an internet leader.

    Back then it was obvious they weren't doing it right. And today they're still not doing it right because they've swung the other way, apparently, and overestimated the importance of cloud computing in the future. Oh well, it's their money and they can afford to flush it.

    • Not sure what you are talking about. Bill Gates was all about the power of the internet back in the day. Heck, IE DOMINATED the browser market, for what, like 10 years.

      I think you might mean that they were misguided in what direction to go with it, but even as a Mac fan, I will concede that MS understood that the internet was important. They just had problems with execution and they sat on their laurels.

      • What the hell are you blatering on about, junior? Were you even in computing "back in the day"?!

        It's widely known that Microsoft was notoriously slow on recognizing the importance of the internet [seattlepi.com].
      • Not sure what you are talking about. Bill Gates was all about the power of the internet back in the day. Heck, IE DOMINATED the browser market, for what, like 10 years.

        Ahh, younglings.... Before your time there was a creature called Netscape. It was in those days that Microsoft was nowhere to be found and apparently mocked this internet thing as a fad.

        Ancient history, I know, but us geezers need something to go on about besides lawns and snow-covered hills...

      • by geekoid (135745)

        they didn't start taking it serious until after 1995. Way to be late to the party.

  • Lead or Follow? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Friday March 05, 2010 @03:12PM (#31374236)

    We're going to change and reinvent our company around leading in the cloud.

    Going to lead in the cloud? Given that Google, Microsoft's most-direct competitor, has been "in the cloud" for quite some time, as the expertise to innovate and excel, and has the money to ensure they have everything they need, I find that to be a bold prediction founded in whimsy rather than fact. Methinks Microsoft is about four or five years too late to the cloud computing game. Sure, they have the resources to make up a lot of time but they're competing against a company that has similar resources who already has those four or five years (or more) head start.

    That said, it is nice to see Microsoft recognizing that the world has changed and making efforts to change with it.

    (And, no, that last part wasn't me being a smartass - I'm actually serious. It's a good thing when major corporations recognize the world has changed and adapt accordingly rather than attempting to hold on to a bygone era.)

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      my guess is there a lot of upper management in microsoft, each with their own vision of what the company should be. Each is trying to take the company into a different field/direction and become a "leader" in it when in actuality the only areas they have a solid lead in are still their core offerings, office and windows. i think this is a byproduct of weak leadership and an unclear vision.

      i think to the average, non-technical person microsoft is still to them the company that makes just office/windows/(xbox

      • I would say that it is an attempt to diversify their offerings, in the event that Windows and/or Office ever fail. They will not be around or dominant forever, and surely they must recognize this. I think this is why they are going after the video game market, MP3 players, search, and all sorts of odds and ends. As these ventures turn profits, they will have more and more of a safety net to fall back on. One day they will fall from power, but they need not be totally destroyed.
    • by alen (225700)

      i think i read that Google Apps will cost you $50 per user per year. that's about the cost of MS Exchange and Office when amortized over 5 years. why change? than you have SOX issues like backups and having backups of data from years ago available to you

  • by sean_nestor (781844) on Friday March 05, 2010 @03:16PM (#31374300) Homepage
    From an article in Time magazine, December 29 1995 [time.com]:

    Gates is as fearful as he is feared, and these days he worries most about the Internet, Usenet and the World Wide Web, which threaten his software monopoly by shifting the nexus of control from stand-alone computers to the network that connects them. The Internet, by design, has no central operating system that Microsoft or anybody else can patent and license. And its libertarian culture is devoted to open--that is to say, nonproprietary--standards, none of which were set by Microsoft.

    Gates moved quickly this year to embrace the Net, although it sometimes seemed he was trying to wrap Microsoft's long arms around it.

    I remember reading Gates' book "The Road Ahead" something like seven years ago and being surprised at how wrong he was in his estimation of the impact that mainstream Internet connectivity would have. I wish I could get the exact quotes, but there were a few telling sentences where he comes off pretty clearly as dismissive that net connectivity would become anything more than a cute PC accessory. I'm still not sure if that was his genuine line of reasoning, or of it was just wishful thinking, but I think the point was clear that Microsoft was stacking their chips against net-based services, insisting that locally-run software was going to be the way of the future.

    Now they are investing in what Google has already been doing and doing well for years, following their trend of copying other business' models instead of innovating on their own. I'm sure this will work out well for them.

    • by alen (225700)

      i use a lot of Google services and it's becoming annoying.

      Gmail seems to take forever doing simple things like deleting emails. 10 seconds to delete 100 emails is way too long.
      Google Reader has this annoying habit that you can't rename folders and you can't customize the size of the different areas of the screen.
      Google Wave other than sucking real bad is slow. and it's a RAM hog. i've had Chrome at 600MB of RAM just on Google Wave.
      Google Voice doesn't seem to have a purpose. why would i use it to call peopl

  • Well ... cloud computing?

    Basically it is the same technology that I have used for the last 15 years within the business.

    People can call the technilogy whatever they want, it is still the same technology that drives the computercentre. It always has, it always will be, the rest is just code..

    I think that cloudcomputing is good, dont get me wrong. It is just what I have been doing for the last 15 years....

    • by Impie (46586)

      oh .. typo .. technoligy should be technology .. :-P sorry for that ..

  • by IDIIAMOTS (553790) on Friday March 05, 2010 @03:18PM (#31374334)
    Ballmer gave a talk at the University of Washington on Microsoft's cloud strategy: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/cloud/videogallery.aspx [microsoft.com]
  • With Amazon and Microsoft being businesses, hence for-profit, I was wondering if anyone has taken a stab at cloud R&D in academia.

  • They spend over 9 billion dollars on research, and we still need to buy add-on products to protect us from virus attacks.

  • Just saying.....

  • Step 5, Profit? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Friday March 05, 2010 @03:59PM (#31374828)

    How is Microsoft going to make a profit in the cloud? The cloud is about the centralization and automatic configuration of vast amounts of computing resources. It will allow smaller companies to turn over their infrastructure management to cloud hosting companies.

    When they were self-hosting, those smaller companies were often paying licensing fees to Microsoft because of some perceived cost benefit such as support or simplicity of administration. However, when shopping for cloud services, they don't need to worry about such details, and so they can focus much more on cost. A Windows based cloud hosting company would need thousands of licenses from Microsoft, and so they could save millions by using free software instead. These savings would lead to a huge price difference.

    Microsoft could always offer special savings on bulk licenses, but they are going to have to offer major price drops. The centralization of hosting will give them far fewer direct customers. Where is the great amount of money to be made in this?

    Their only hope is to offer things that can't be found in free software, or to reduce administrative costs enough to offset the cost of licenses. It will be a difficult challenge.

    • by IDIIAMOTS (553790)
      Microsoft would make money by running the services themselves and pocket the subscription fees instead of licensing fees.
  • by rssrss (686344) on Friday March 05, 2010 @04:07PM (#31374906)

    AT&T used to have an enormous R&D program. It invented transistors, UNIX, C, information theory, ... And they even won a couple of Nobel prizes. IBM wasn't AT&T, but they still made enormous contributions like RISC and relational databases. Micro$oft has done nothing.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      hey, XMLHttpRequest isn't nothing.

      • by mferrare (65039)

        Funny thing is they invented it and then they never used it!!

        IIRC it was Google that was the first to exploit it on a wide basis with GMail.

        Just goes to show MS can't spot a real innovation when they have one - even from their own labs...

  • by Raconteur (1132577) on Friday March 05, 2010 @04:17PM (#31375018)
    cloud computing is a very bad idea. The very same things that Ballmer spoke of as being exciting and profitable are the same ones that terrify me for lots of reasons. I'm not paranoid about privacy (that's gone) but it will get worse, and the possibilities for monopolization, piracy, and loss of data integrity increase exponentially. As a small business, it makes no sense for me to embrace the risk, and as a dinosaur in the digital world, I naturally balk at centralization disguised as convenience.
  • ... they burn billions on research money, yet a lot of their products are mocking someone else's creative inventions (MS-DOS, Windows, IE, Zune, Windows CE, Windows Mobile, ...) paired with half-assed and often user-annoying implementations.
    Instead (or because of that) they have to spend their time spreading FUD and threatening everyone with patent suits. Thank you, Microsoft!
  • The problem Microsoft really has is a lack of vision. They've kinda made everything they have set out to make, and now they really don't have a grasp on what's next. Regardless of their size and resources, they aren't driving the industry the way they used to. Office is ok, and the ribbon bar is cool, for sure, but, it took them ten years of piling stuff into toolbars and menus and chasing around competitors u/i dongles in Office that they lost site of Office as a vision. Same can be said about Win7, VSt

  • When even cell phones increasingly have the compute power of what desktops did a few years ago. The only reason you need a cloud is for data, and right now, data is still expensive to do over the internet. If longer lasting and higher capacity solid state drives become mainstream, even the data reason goes away as you can have all your data on your shelf, in the kitchen cabinet, your pocket at work, and so on, and even then, most people really don't need to store every single picture they took, forever.

  • $9 Billion? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Millennium (2451) on Friday March 05, 2010 @04:35PM (#31375254) Homepage

    Microsoft gave $9 Billion to its R&D department?

    Geez; how'd Steve Jobs convince them to donate that much?

  • by ratnerstar (609443) on Friday March 05, 2010 @04:40PM (#31375292) Homepage

    You've looked at clouds from both sides now,
    From up and down, and still somehow,
    Nine billion dollars, I recall
    You really don't know clouds, at all.

  • Other operating systems have pulled ahead and probably will continue to do so. Office has been nearly feature complete since Office 97 (which is perfectly serviceable for 99% of people), and Open Office will eventually get there, if it hasn't already. Internet Explorer continues to slip.

    Microsoft continues to win in business software like Exchange and Outlook, and things that integrate with them. My guess is that they're putting a hell of a lot of money in SharePoint, because what other CMSs integrate th

  • How many billions of dollars have to be flushed down the toilet in Microsoft's attempt to gain new market strongholds?

    It seems the best use of this money would be to give it back to the stockholers.

  • It's like they JUST realized that they Google and Apple were the behemoths now and that MS is the underdog.

  • Network PC anyone?
    Well I guess someone has to spend money to prove it's not what we need. But seriously: what if MS wasn't around? That's the real question.

  • ...tell me your local cable company won't start metering your internet access once your computer is replaced with a - déjà vu - dumb terminal. They'll have you by the short curlies, once you cannot do diddly-squat without a connection.

    And once that happens, it will spiral out of control. If you believe otherwise, perhaps you might consider the possibility of some genius with a greedy streak at Verizon/Comcast/Time Warner/on Wall Street thinking "Hey, since we have metered access now, then why

  • = Perpetual micro-payments. Just like the cell phone industry.

    Evil..

  • You know, poorly implemented, cloud computing has the potential to be the thing that actual does finally lay waste to the internet (many apologies to LOLcatz and ChatRoulette). And who better to poorly implement cloud than MS?
  • focuses on cloud."

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