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Microsoft's Ray Ozzie Sees "Post-PC" World

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 44 comments

Microsoft's retiring Chief Technical Officer Ray Ozzie asked that the company move on from its PC-oriented roots and envision a world that mainly relies on the Internet and wireless devices. The comment arrives just after the public announcement of his retirement and in less than a month before the 25th anniversary of Windows 1.0's launch.

"It’s important that all of us do precisely what our competitors and customers will ultimately do: close our eyes and form a realistic picture of what a post-PC world might actually look like, if it were to ever truly occur," he said in a blog. "Those who can envision a plausible future that’s brighter than today will earn the opportunity to lead."

He goes on to recognize a "wholesale reconfiguration" in the way we perceive and apply technology, referring to how consumers embrace apps and tablets. He also said that early adopters are moving away from mentally associating computing with PCs, CD-installed programs, desktops, files and folders. Instead, they're shifting towards cloud-based continuous services and appliance-like connected devices enabling them to interact with those cloud-based services.

"Many years ago when the PC first emerged as an alternative to the mini and mainframe, the key facets of simplicity and broad approachability were key to its amazing success," he said. "If there’s to be a next wave of industry reconfiguration--toward a world of internet-connected continuous services and appliance-like connected devices--it would likely arise again from those very same facets. It may take quite a while to happen, but I believe that in some form or another, without doubt, it will."

He added that there's an opportunity for those who envision the "end-game" to recognize both the inevitability and value inherent in the big shift ahead. Its also their responsibility to do what it takes to lead customers into that new post-PC world.

"In the short term, this means imagining the ‘killer apps & services’ and ‘killer devices’ that match up to a broad range of customer needs as they’ll evolve in this new era," he said.

To read his entire blog, head here.

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Top Comments
  • 23 Hide
    Parsian , October 28, 2010 3:12 AM
    i like my PC. how dare they thinking of taking it away from me :'( 
  • 10 Hide
    thechief73 , October 28, 2010 4:31 AM
    I dont know about everyone else but I am kinda getting tired of big shot tech people saying PC's are dying or everything will be wireless cloud computing and cloud based software, I agree with the cloud storage and software to an extent but I do not think it will be ubiquitous. Cloud PC's indeed a good vision of the future but is so far off to the average user its almost like sci-fy, flying cars, unicorns and fairy dust. Seems like at least once a month someone comes out and says the same thing, IMHO they all need a reality check. This requires infrastructure that is several years in the very best case senario and decade(s) at worst.

    Even if this does at some point become a reality, do you want to trust your PC's ability to function as you wish to a remote server and a private company which needs to be 100% reliable and safe to store your software and important files?

    There will always be the need for an interface on hand to opperate and with the advancement in smaller and smaller microarchitecture processes why put the rest of the hardware at a remote location when it can be just as easily there on hand more reliably and safer.

    If you ask me advancment in technology will make his ideas obsolete before they are even implemented or adopted.
Other Comments
  • 1 Hide
    dogman_1234 , October 28, 2010 3:07 AM
    Well, it is a star of an idea...

    I guess we will all have to see.
  • -3 Hide
    eklipz330 , October 28, 2010 3:08 AM
    way to go out lookin' like a jerk... aren't pc sales going up?
  • 2 Hide
    victorintelr , October 28, 2010 3:10 AM
    Interesting concept of the future, still we don't know what lies ahead, but someone has to start with an idea at least.
  • 23 Hide
    Parsian , October 28, 2010 3:12 AM
    i like my PC. how dare they thinking of taking it away from me :'( 
  • -8 Hide
    Anonymous , October 28, 2010 3:14 AM
    Pretty reasonable conclusion in a world of iPads and Internet connected TV's. Those who embrace technology will flourish and those who oppose it will fade away.
  • 7 Hide
    chickenhoagie , October 28, 2010 3:16 AM
    i totally understand what he means. hes emphasizing the use and connectivity of portable devices and picturing the whole world with blazing fast internet and easy accessibility everywhere you go..doesn't mean PC's will go away. its a goal that will take a very long time to achieve but im very sure it could happen. However my only concern is what happens when you CAN'T get away from technology. I really hope in the future there is still ways to get away from all this for at least a brief moment..gotta remember, i grew up in the 90s!
  • -4 Hide
    rohitbaran , October 28, 2010 3:17 AM
    Well, it is very distant vision, but a good one.
  • 0 Hide
    dEAne , October 28, 2010 3:29 AM
    He really see the future as if it happen now.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , October 28, 2010 3:39 AM
    A visionary as always.
  • 1 Hide
    loomis86 , October 28, 2010 3:41 AM
    What ozzie sees is the day when mankind no longer controls the automaton.
  • 10 Hide
    thechief73 , October 28, 2010 4:31 AM
    I dont know about everyone else but I am kinda getting tired of big shot tech people saying PC's are dying or everything will be wireless cloud computing and cloud based software, I agree with the cloud storage and software to an extent but I do not think it will be ubiquitous. Cloud PC's indeed a good vision of the future but is so far off to the average user its almost like sci-fy, flying cars, unicorns and fairy dust. Seems like at least once a month someone comes out and says the same thing, IMHO they all need a reality check. This requires infrastructure that is several years in the very best case senario and decade(s) at worst.

    Even if this does at some point become a reality, do you want to trust your PC's ability to function as you wish to a remote server and a private company which needs to be 100% reliable and safe to store your software and important files?

    There will always be the need for an interface on hand to opperate and with the advancement in smaller and smaller microarchitecture processes why put the rest of the hardware at a remote location when it can be just as easily there on hand more reliably and safer.

    If you ask me advancment in technology will make his ideas obsolete before they are even implemented or adopted.
  • 1 Hide
    dogman_1234 , October 28, 2010 5:16 AM
    ^

    The reason they make comment like this is to get $$$$$$$. Period.

    Sure the tech will change, but the idea of the personal computer will continue. Cloud computing is a CONCEPT, not an actual thing.
  • 1 Hide
    mastadisasta_31 , October 28, 2010 5:24 AM
    I can see a future like that, but like in another 25 years. Not only does the tech have to be small, portable, and powerful. It's going to have to be cheap to meet the mass populace. So don't say goodbye to your PC just yet.
  • 2 Hide
    theroguex , October 28, 2010 5:51 AM
    Can I run Crysis from the cloud on a little dummy box?

    Nope.

    Case closed.
  • -3 Hide
    Travis Beane , October 28, 2010 6:22 AM
    As much as I love my hand built rig, he's right.
    What do I invision as the future of computing? Nothing but dummy terminals. We can do our banking, gaming, chatting, everything from dummy terminals.
    Cheap and mass produced, every home will have one. with a mobile version for all.
    Just think, your computer is nothing more than a 30" 5mm thick OLED with a discreet keyboard. The mobile version either being in a cellphone/tablet fashion, or a more direct accessory, such as a armband with a thin, light, durable and cheaply replaceable touchscreen.
    Were we no longer have to worry about updating, upgrading, anything. You want to play Crysis on your phone? Then do it. Servers in every city to handle anything requiring low latency, and international servers to handle the heavy stuff.

    Maybe I'm just crazy, but I see a world were everyone has what they need. No worrying about whether you should spend $500 or $2000 on a laptop, if it breaks whether or not you can afford to fix it, no worrying whether your phone will run that app for you or not. Were you don't have to cancel your internet just so you can afford groceries when times hit you hard.
    A world were everything just works.

    I'm shooting for the stars, how about you? Microsoft and Macintosh have enough power and money to help us a least start the changes, but without their support, it will likely take 50 years more or just never happen.
  • -3 Hide
    dalauder , October 28, 2010 6:48 AM
    It's not n
    rohitbaranWell, it is very distant vision, but a good one.


    Distant? It's two years before EVERYONE realizes that they only need a fast computer for work or playing games. Netbooks that wirelessly connect to TVs/monitors (although most monitors will have speakers) will be common in three years--making a desk with a keyboard and monitor all you need. And I think most of us know Linux is perfect for a netbook. It's five years until PC's are exclusively top-of-the-line customizable game boxes with an open (or Windows?) platform.

    Anyone try Linux recently? The majority of users can't tell LinuxMint apart from Windows XP if you put a nice skin on it. Microsoft is in trouble and in 3 years will be in big trouble if they don't have a major shift of focus. But I think most of the higher ups in Microsoft realize their dire situation--where a Chrome OS focussed on a browser is reasonable.

    In terms of thinking PC or just access device to Internet/Cloud, end game is within site. Microsoft needs a strategy.
  • 0 Hide
    liveonc , October 28, 2010 7:08 AM
    Already a year ago I was think about the future shift towards cloud, but even though the benefits are many, I'm more inclined to believe this to be a combo of not so remote cloud & cloud computing, but also the opposite in the form of volunteer & compulsory grid computing, as all this is already happening. It's a Wild West, but not forever. Some will fight against this, some will embrace this, & some will enforce this.
  • 0 Hide
    sudeshc , October 28, 2010 7:17 AM
    I actually like this idea, imagine a world where i can access all my data anywhere anytime with always on network device, imagine that i never have to worry about storage space. device capable of doing everything that a modern killer PC does accessing everything on the fly. Play games as and when you want and put something for download and its automatically downloaded and stored to your cloud storage space even if your device is not in action......... Something like Logmein does everything runs on my home PC but i can access it from anywhere and do what ever i want.
  • 1 Hide
    DDWill , October 28, 2010 7:39 AM
    Ray Ozzie is looking from only one perspective, the perspective of someone that lives their life constantly on the move. For people that are always on the go, if its rushing from one office to the next, or commuting from one location to the other, its easy to envision a life where everything is run from a hand held device. But for the rest of us, when we get home from work the tablet gets very little use and if you ask anyone if they would rather watch a movie or play a game in the evening on a 7” tablet or a pc and 24” monitor, the pc & 24” monitor would win every time. Its more comfortable and easier on the eyes than looking at a small screen. I am a 3D artist, and my current pc has 24 logical cores for production rendering, and I think it is a very distant future before a handheld device has this much raw processing power, and even if this was possible one day without the battery dying after 5 minutes, if you gave me the choice between designing on a 7” tablet or my pc and 27“ monitor, again the pc & monitor would be the clear winner every time, and I think most professions would agree with this. Tablets just don’t have the comfort factor that a pc has, and unless a tablet manufacturer comes up with a 27” tablet with 24 cores, and a battery-pack in a back-pack, then I think my pc is safe for many years to come.
  • 2 Hide
    ivanlucrazy , October 28, 2010 8:19 AM
    There are many of us who will still want to have a PC , or some iteration of it as long as we live. I see cloud-computing as the future for many business and "zombied" users that use the PC as mostly an Entertainment device ie TV, Music , Movies.

    What about the people that enjoy building PC's? The people that want to have the backup of a file right there with them. Hobbyists, modders and the like will always want PC.
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