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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

April 30, 2007 at 6:35 PM

Mix07: Seadragon surfaces, SAAS evolves and other sundries

LAS VEGAS — There was considerably more content delivered here today than is fit to print. Hence, the blog for some choice extras.

For those looking for a developer’s-eye view of the news, I suggest reading the blog of Ryan Stewart at ZDNet. His take is that the biggest announcement Microsoft made today has to do with extending the .NET Framework to the Mac platform by way of its inclusion in Silverlight.

Ray Ozzie, Microsoft’s chief software architect, made some interesting observations during his keynote. First off, he noted that this was his first time speaking to a large audience of developers since starting at Microsoft in 2005.

Later, he described how technology for smooth, rapid zooming of images that went on display as Microsoft’s Photosynth was making its way into Silverlight. Photosynth is a project of Live Labs, an applied research group that reports to Ozzie. We profiled the project last August. It is derived from work done at University of Washington, Microsoft Research and Seadragon Software, a small Seattle startup Microsoft acquired in 2006.

“As a result of the incredible response, specifically to the zooming technology in Photosynth, the Silverlight and Live Labs teams worked together to put zoomability” into the product, Ozzie said. It could be used for delivering super high resolution photos or advertisements over limited-bandwidth Internet connections.

Ozzie also traced the evolution of the argument in the software community over the end of software — the idea being that all software functionality would be delivered as a service over the Internet and trump software code based on the PC itself. The pendulum has swung back and forth from the extreme viewpoints of all software, to all services and is now finding a happy medium — or rather a tailored approach that uses services when appropriate and local software when that’s appropriate.

“We’ll end up with a mixture of some of this and some of that,” Ozzie said.

Ozzie said this is playing out more clearly in “version two” in the software as a service evolution.

“Software as a service v1 meant the Web. It meant inside the browser. But software as a service v2 has grown to fully embrace the uniquely valuable role of client in those scenarios,” he said.

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