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Microsoft attempts to explain software plus services

by Scott Bicheno on 2 October 2008, 14:25

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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It’s complicated

With the promise of seeing Microsoft head honcho Steve Ballmer in the flesh, hundreds of Microsoft partners descended on Central London to have the Software plus Services (S+S) concept explained to them.

However the sheer scale of the project and the fact that anything new to say about (S+S) is being kept strictly hush-hush prior to what is shaping up to be an action-packed PCD (professional developers conference) on 27th October, meant that many of the audiences questions were left partially answered at best.

The event opened with a talk from Steve Clayton, who's one of the people charged with explaining what S+S is and why we should care. On one level you could say that S+S is Microsoft's cloud computing play and Clayton, started by stating that the main drivers of the evolution towards S+S are the proliferation of broadband and of internet connected devices.

"It's a fallacy to say that all software will be delivered by web browsers"

The reason Microsoft has chosen the S+S name is to represent that, although it acknowledges the importance of cloud computing, it thinks the cloud will co-exist with client installed software rather than replace it. "It's a fallacy to say that all software will be delivered by web browsers," said Clayton. "Software plus Services is about the power of choice."

To exemplify this, Clayton the co-existence of the two in the Apple iPhone and the fact that even Google and Salesforce.com offer offline products. He also flagged up www.worldwidetelescope.org as an example of client and web based software complementing each other.

To conclude, Clayton revealed that Microsoft is currently in a data centre building frenzy, during which it's adding 10,000 servers per month. To put this into context Clayton observed that Facebook runs on a total of 10,000 servers.