Dave Winer, an extremely creative but sometimes disruptive voice, over at Scripting News, has provided a fascinating look behind the scenes at Microsoft when he published two memos from the brass there, one from Bill Gates from October 30, 2005 and the other from Ray Ozzie, the Chief Technical Officer, from October 28, 2005, in which the two discuss the implications for their enormous company of a services-based and advertising-funded Internet economy.
Something weird happened just before midnight Eastern time, first the Wall Street Journal, then the NY Times, then the Seattle Post-Intelligencer all had reports on a memo leaked from inside Microsoft that was sent to top management and direct reports just before the press conference in San Francisco last Tuesday.
Ray Ozzie notes the urgency of the situation for Microsoft here:
Just as in the past, we must reflect upon what’s going on around us, and reflect upon our strengths, weaknesses and industry leadership responsibilities, and respond. As much as ever, it’s clear that if we fail to do so, our business as we know it is at risk. We must respond quickly and decisively.
And then he notes that:
… this is the right time to be focusing on services for two specific reasons: the increasing ubiquity of broadband has made it viable, and the proven economics of the advertising model has made it profitable.
What does all of this mean for those of us who just use the products? If nothing else, it means that we are in for an interesting time of change in which even big companies like Microsoft realize that the landscape is changing and to remain viable, they must change too. It means that Google, for one, has illustrated by its own success that “an advertising company that uses services as bait,” as Robert Scoble calls them in one of his own comments to his post about this subject, has created an upheaval in the technological landscape to which everyone must respond.
Hang on to your hats boys and girls. This could be an interesting ride both to watch as well as to participate in.
Later: Craig Burton makes this interesting observation …
we are about to experience a significant shift in the way protocols and interfaces work. The key to the future success of the Internet Services Model is a dynamic application protocol framework. Things of course go beyond protocols, the Internet Services Model, fueled by the services that can emerge as a result of the dynamic application protocol framework, will resolve themselves into a network centric system that no one owns, no one controls, and everyone benefits from—I refer to it as the Internet Operating System.
What’s most interesting about Craig’s comment is that he made it on February 6, 2001. Thanks to Doc Searls for the pointer.