TECH TALK: Microsoft, Bandwidth and Centralised Computing: Mike on Microsoft (Part 2)

Mike doesnt necessarily imply a thin client. A local client neednt have no storage. It could have storage, and even a local processor. Many people who are reading this are assuming the client would have to be some completely dumb terminal. I can almost guarantee this would not be so. Applications would simply not be responsive enough without some local storage and processing power, and this would be a very poor design, indeed. Remote application provision and administration absolutely do not preclude local processing and storage.

A later post by Mike adds: The biggest reason I think some measure of ASP and centralized computing is inevitable for the vast majority is because the average user will never desire to, or in many cases even be able to learn, all the steps that the author of the post had to complete to clean and then secure that Windows machine.

John Zeratsky wrote in a post referenced by Mike: Many assume Mike is talking about using so-called dumb clients (simple computers with little or no local memory or storage). I think hes suggesting a more subtle shift away from the massively complex computers we run on our desks today. For years, I have been a proponent of moving the tools for creating, manipulating and collecting information online. Centralized (i.e. web-based) systems have advantages for all kinds of users, and neednt result in the extreme scenario the commenters on Mikes post call for. Its not that everyone has missed the point. Theyre just asking the wrong question. Distributed computing is already here. Most day-to-day tasks of average computer users are online. And it works.

Om Malik wrote about Mikes post: It is nice to finally meet a kindred soul. Mike in a well articulated essay points out that as broadband becomes more prevalent and bandwidth to the home increases, the operating systems and computers as we know of them today will become irrelevant. With Longhorn, Microsoft is trying to perpetuate the days of local computing, and I feel they are moving in the wrong direction. Like an off-balance fighter, the first time a company starts punching in the other direction, the momentum is likely to shift to the other fighter in this case, cheaper, better-prepared applications such as Linux, Firefox, and other Open Source applications available for free Broadband frees us from the tyranny of bloated operating systems and faster processors.

This was my initial response: I have written extensively about the opportunity to reinvent computing in a world where communications exists. This is one revolution which will begin not in the developed markets but in the emerging markets. It will also integrate computing and communications. Our Emergic vision is about making it happen, and bringing to the next billion users services built around a centralised commPuting platform.

Tomorrow’s World (Nov 2004)
CommPuting Grid (Nov 2004)
Massputers, Redux (Oct 2004)
The Network Computer (Oct 2004)
Reinventing Computing (Aug 2004)
The Next Billion (Sep 2003)
The Rs 5,000 PC Ecosystem (Jan 2003)

Tomorrow: Comments

TECH TALK Microsoft, Bandwidth and Centralised Computing+T

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.