TECH TALK: The Best of 2005: Software

8. Ray Ozzies Memo on Software-as-a-Service

One of the best analyses of the future of software came from the leaked October memo by Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie, who has a great reputation in software circles following his hand in Lotus Notes and Groove. Ozzies vision for the future of software is being heralded as Microsofts vision. This is what Ray Ozzie wrote:

The environment has changed yet again this time around services. Computing and communications technologies have dramatically and progressively improved to enable the viability of a services-based model. The ubiquity of broadband and wireless networking has changed the nature of how people interact, and theyre increasingly drawn toward the simplicity of services and service-enabled software that just works. Businesses are increasingly considering what services-based economics of scale might do to help them reduce infrastructure costs or deploy solutions as-needed and on subscription basisMost challenging and promising to our business, though, is that a new business model has emerged in the form of advertising-supported services and software.

Today there are three key tenets that are driving fundamental shifts in the landscape all of which are related in some way to services. Its key to embrace these tenets within the context of our products and services.

1. The power of the advertising-supported economic model.
Online advertising has emerged as a significant new means by which to directly and indirectly fund the creation and delivery of software and services. In some cases, it may be possible for one to obtain more revenue through the advertising model than through a traditional licensing model. Only in its earliest stages, no one yet knows the limits of what categories of hardware, software and services, in what markets, will ultimately be funded through this model. And no one yet knows how much of the worlds online advertising revenues should or will flow to large software and service providers, medium sized or tail providers, or even users themselves.

2. The effectiveness of a new delivery and adoption model.
A grassroots technology adoption pattern has emerged on the internet largely in parallel to the classic methods of selling software to the enterprise. Products are now discovered through a combination of blogs, search keyword-based advertising, online product marketing and word-of-mouth. Its now expected that anything discovered can be sampled and experienced through self-service exploration and download. This is true not just for consumer products: even enterprise products now more often than not enter an organization through the internet-based research and trial of a business unit that understands a products value.

3. The demand for compelling, integrated user experiences that just work.
The PC has morphed into new form factors and new roles, and we increasingly have more than one in our lives at work, at home, laptops, tablets, even in the living room. Cell phones have become ubiquitous. There are a myriad of handheld devices. Set-top boxes, PVRs and game consoles are changing what and how we watch television. Photos, music and voice communications are all rapidly going digital and being driven by software. Automobiles are on a path to become smart and connected. The emergence of the digital lifestyle that utilizes all these technologies is changing how we learn, play games, watch TV, communicate with friends and family, listen to music and share memories.

9. Adam Bosworth on Web Learnings

Adam Bosworth is one of the pioneers of XML. He is now VP-Engineering at Google. He wrote an article in the October issue of ACM Queue which discussed learnings from the Web. His key point was that today databases violate essentially every lesson we have learned from the Web. He called forth database vendors to to support a native RSS 2.0/Atom protocol and wire format; a simple way to ask very general queries; a way to model data that encompasses trees and arbitrary graphs in ways that humans think about them; far more fluid schemas that dont require complex joins to model variations on a theme about anything from products to people to places; and built-in linear scaling so that the database salespeople can tell their customers, in good conscience, for this class of queries you can scale arbitrarily with regard to throughput and extremely well even with regard to latency, as long as you limit yourself to the following types of queries.

Tomorrow: The Power of Us

TECH TALK The Best of 2005+T

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.