May 20, 2010

Microsoft Predicts ‘Cloudy’ Computing Future

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive, said Wednesday that the company is betting that the future of computing is in the Internet "cloud."

"Cloud computing represents the next frontier," Ballmer said at an annual gathering of corporate chief executives at Microsoft's campus in Redmond, Washington.

"We've been betting or investing in the cloud for about ten years and in earnest for about six or seven years."

When the economy spiraled last year cloud computing became more popular.  Businesses and people saved money by using applications hosted online instead of buying, installing and maintaining software on their own machines.

"There is incredible opportunity in the cloud," Ballmer said.

Microsoft sees cloud computing as a big role for its investments in personal computers, smartphones, and Internet-enabled televisions.

"Those are intelligent devices that are going to continue to morph," Ballmer told AFP News.

The Internet cloud will "fuse the best of what we think of as the phone, the PC, the TV, the Internet and the corporate data-center," he added.

Ballmer used the company's Project Natal technology as an example, which promises to imbue Microsoft Xbox 360 videogame consoles with facial recognition and natural gesture control capabilities.

"It's not really just for playing videogames," Ballmer said of Natal, which is to be released in time for the year-end holiday shopping season.

"You want to watch TV, have a video conference, talk to friends across the Internet; we have a little shopping application we like to show."

Cloud computing enhances social interaction with social networking services like Twitter and Facebook.  It also enables software to learn from feedback as in the cases of automated spell checks or locations on map programs.

The 100 plus attendees at the CEO Summit included Queen of Jordan Rania Al Abdullah, legendary investor Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos.


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