Welcome!

Cognitive Computing Authors: Todd Matters, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Kevin Benedict, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microsoft Cloud, Silverlight, Wearables

@CloudExpo: Article

Ray Ozzie, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs & The Cloud

Interviews Reveal That Some Things Never Change

The role of the designer at Apple and Microsoft has been a hot topic in the news recently.

First came a long interview with former Apple CEO John Sculley, who discussed the role of the designer at Apple and contrasted it favorably with Microsoft's approach.

Then came news that Microsoft's Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie was resigning, apparently because his role as designer-in-chief was marginalized in Redmond. Add to that the telling detail that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said he will not replace Ray Ozzie.

Certainly Apple has been riding an incredible wave of growth and profitability in recent years, and certainly many people have been trying to hammer nails in a coffin custom-fitted for Microsoft in recent years as well.

The Players Play On
In this context, I re-watched a fascinating interview with Messrs. Ballmer and Ozzie held last fall and conducted by Wall Street Journal reviewer Walt Mossberg. Some of the conversation was about Cloud Computing, an area in which the two Microsoft execs had sharply divergent views.

This was not the only area in which the two didn't seem to be on the same page. As the interview progressed-and Ballmer did about 80% of the talking-it became clear that Redmond's CEO and CSO had two completely different world views, almost in a literal sense, as if they came from two different planets.

With respect to Cloud Computing, Microsoft has announced and is implementing its Azure program and strategy. I've seen articles critical of Azure as presenting a very pale  in contrast to what it could be or would have been had Ray Ozzie been able to carry forth his vision.

At this point, it is so very easy for us armchair quarterbacks to criticize Ballmer, to charecterize Ozzie's leaving as a mistake, not replacing him another mistake, to allege that Ballmer "doesn't get" the Cloud, and predict Redmond's ultimate doom.

Microsoft is ultimately doomed; if people keep saying this for the next 500 years, at some point, someone will be right.

What is Important?
But the question of whether Microsoft will go out of business in 2011, 2111, or 2511 is irrelevant. What is relevant is that Steve Ballmer is CEO of an enterprise with $62 billion in annual revenue. Apple has grown in recent years to approach this level, and now exceeds Redmond in the worth of its stock.

These facts are more relevant to Steve Jobs's ability to manage such a large enterprise than with Apple's competition with Microsoft. My guess is neither is inclined to be rash and do anything else to steer enterprises of this size by any other means than those that got them to where they are today. In other words, we know Steve Jobs is never going to change; Steve Ballmer isn't gonna change either, folks.

Neither spends much time obsessing about the other (the way we in the media and analyst communities do). I'm sure, however, that they both spend a lot of time obsessing about how all of the tactical approaches involved in running their respective business. It is here where the Sculley and Ballmer/Ozzie interviews enter the picture.

Steve Jobs thinks in terms of industrial design, and he is a perfectionist. Sculley says this in the interview, and his opinion is hardly revelatory. Steve first described his fascination with industrial design in an interview with Playboy magazine years ago, where he mentioned European washing machines-which load sideways, use less water, spin faster, and dry the clothes as well-as an example of what inspires him. His disdain for furniture-none of it is good enough-is well known.

Sculley goes on to describe how this obsession with design has always been implemented at Apple, in which the designers are the high priests of the org chart. By contrast, Microsoft simply doesn't have anyone in a similar role, Sculley said in the interview.

This observation seems to bear out with the elimination of Ray Ozzie's job title as he leaves the company. The title of Chief Software Architect was previously held by Bill Gates only; at the time, it seemed to be created as a way for Gates to dislodge himself from the yoke of day-to-day management while remaining influential within the company.

Not Bill
Initial news reports about Ray's leaving Microsoft highlighted the fact that "Ray wasn't Bill," ie, he didn't command the respect that the company co-founder did. Many in the crowd might crack wise that Not Being Bill is exactly what Microsoft needs, that it is finally time to bring some high-level design perspective to the company instead of getting it right the third time, as has been the company's history.

But no way no how would that argument go over well with Steve Ballmer. In the Mossberg interview, he was alternately cocky and earnest, but always supremely supportive of the way Microsoft has always done business and, presumably, will always do business.

When Ray Ozzie would talk about "pivoting" (I would say "adapting") current Microsoft applications for the Cloud, Ballmer would talk about how users will always want substantial processing power on their desktops.

When Mossberg would muse about whether the Apple iPad represents a new era, Ballmer would insist that the iPad is just another form factor (while at the same time seeming not to want to count its sales as part of the market share for laptop computers).

Mossberg was inquisitive about the future, Ozzie was expansive about it (when given the chance to talk), and Ballmer insistent that the future would look much like the present.

Steve also seemed to have a hardwired US-centric view of things, scorning the $50-70 annual budget he found among consumers in India, describing Malaysia as "remote" in his wondernment that the latest technology has reached this part of the world, and lamenting the loss of revenue for 60 to 70 million copies of Office that he said would be pirated in China this year.

All In or All Done?
Microsoft announced some changes to its Cloud offerings just this week, a few days after announcing Ray Ozzie's resignation, and it certainly could be that these two events are connected, if not directly related. Even though Steve Ballmer famously said Redmond is "all in" with its Cloud bet, it doesn't seem to be the case.

Where Apple continues to push the limits of  product design, Microsoft seems to be hanging on, grimly, to evolving its cash cows to the Cloud as slowly as possible. Meanwhile, Google has not yet gone away.

Neither Apple nor Microsoft seem especially interested in Enterprise Cloud Computing, the land being staked out, in uniquely different ways, by Oracle, HP, IBM, Cisco, Amazon, and Google.

In contrast, both Apple and Microsoft remain focused on end-users rather than IT buyers. Who knows who will win in the end? Who knows if this is even the most important part of the Cloud?

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara California. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infras...
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, an entertainment executive/TV producer turned serial entrepreneur, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to ma...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...