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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

October 2, 2008 at 5:37 PM

Ballmer on the cloud, Apple’s cult and Zune software (the Windows 7 jukebox?)

If you’re curious about Microsoft’s plan for hosted cloud software, an interview that Chief Executive Steve Ballmer did in London with the British edition of CIO magazine is a must-read.

Previewing some of the news we’ll hear at MIcrosoft’s Oct. 27 developer conference, Ballmer said Microsoft will offer an Amazon-style model to start. In future versions, partners may also offer Windows cloud services. (No wonder Amazon.com announced Wednesday that it will soon be hosting Windows on AWS.)

Then the interview zoomed from enterprise services to the Zune, where Ballmer suggested that Zune’s software is on the ascent, within Microsoft, at least. His comment:

“Now, we built the Zune hardware with the Zune software — and what you’ll see more and more over time is that the Zune software will also be ported to and be more important not just with the hardware but on the PC, on Windows Mobile devices, etc.”

Some jumped on the news that Zune software is coming to Windows-powered phones, but I wonder if it’s going onto an even bigger platform. Could it be the software jukebox on Windows 7? We haven’t heard much from Windows Media Player lately …

Zune led to discussion of Apple:

CIO: It seems to me to be a tricky one because Apple is out there, and they have a pretty good product — but also they have this kind of cult following of people who are just going to buy, because it’s Apple. That must be a frustrating thing to compete against.

Ballmer: They may have a cult following in the music business, and we got about 97 percent of PC users using our stuff. 97 percent may not constitute a cult! But I wouldn’t trade that for a cult!

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