Microsoft To Converge Its Windows Live Efforts
Microsoft continues to tweak its "Live" services effort, converging
its current Windows Live Platform and Windows Live Core efforts, a company spokeswoman
confirmed Thursday afternoon.
Company veteran and corporate vice president David Treadwell will lead the
combined "Live Platform Services" effort which comprises identity,
directory, presence, and internal and external applications that will make use
of them. Future planned services will include such entries as client/server/service
file synchronization and transport.
In a related personnel move, corporate vice president Amitabh Srivastava will
lead Cloud Infrastructure Services, the spokeswoman also confirmed. These services
include what she called the "lowest level of the platform, including an
efficient, virtualized computational substrate, a fully automated service management
system, and a comprehensive set of highly scalable storage services." The
changes were effective July 1, the start of Microsoft's fiscal 2008.
Microsoft in 1997 and was a Microsoft fellow in 2001. Treadwell joined Microsoft
Treadwell has filled several large roles at Microsoft including general
manager of .NET platform development.
Both executives will continue to report to Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie,
whose job it is to make sure Microsoft is a major player in what it calls "Software
Microsoft has talked a lot, but very generically, about its "services
in the cloud" roadmap, and some watchers say the company had better get
more specific, fast. In this arena, Microsoft faces prodigious competition from
Google, the Mountain View, Calif. search giant that is trying to morph into
a platform and apps provider, as well.
It also faces a bevy of Software as a Service business applications players, including Salesforce.com and NetSuite, most of which rely on distinctly non-Microsoft
foundations including Linux and Oracle databases.
While pundits don't sell Microsoft, or Ozzie, short, many think the time has
come to talk turkey.
"We know very little about this group, about whatever Microsoft is calling
its services platform, what they intend to provide," says Paul Degroot,
analyst at Directions on Microsoft, a Kirkland, Wash.-based researcher. "In
a platform you want to have a coherent set of APIs, you want them to be accessible
via familiar development tools, and you want a reason for someone to sue them
or to develop for them."
Microsoft has proven in the PC realm, and increasingly also in servers, that
it knows how to do platforms, he added, citing Windows Server takeout of Novell's
NetWare, which at one point had more than 80 percent server market share.
Still, the move of consumers and increasingly of businesses to a rental or subscription
model has threatened Microsoft's legacy Office and even Windows power base.
Ozzie is spearheading a drive to permeate the Net with an array of free and
some for-fee services for small businesses and consumers.
Degroot, however, says Microsoft still needs to demonstrate a cohesive business
model. "Microsoft has better than 90 percent market share with Internet
Explorer but gets zero dollars [from it]."
Degroot and most of the world presumes Microsoft wants or needs to make dollars
off its Software Plus Services strategy but has done little to explicitly illustrate
its plan to get there.
Barbara Darrow is Industry Editor for Redmond Developer News, Redmond magazine and Redmond Channel Partner. She has covered technology and business issues for 20 years.