Staring into a bright future
Steve Gillmor ties together a bunch of disconnected thoughts, ideas and trends in a post that snidely refers to Bill Gates getting a gold watch and retiring. Steve is a savant of sorts. He spots patterns and trends that others can’t see but struggles to articulate why they’re there and what they’ll lead to.
But there is a redeeming quote in the piece: “But don’t think that just because Google will prosper that Microsoft won’t. Live Mesh can fit into this like a glove, feeding downstream vertical versions of affinity groups to skinned Silverlight containers. We’re within weeks of offerings already from Twhirl, FriendFeed, Summize, and others we just haven’t been told about yet. All Microsoft needs to do is get Bill his gold watch and get back to work.”
What Steve is missing is that the work hasn’t ever stopped and that the “ship cycles” are very long. We are at a major inflection point but we don’t leave all of our past investments behind. Just as Facebook started nearly 5 years ago as a slick app for college kids to connect with their friends and now represents a “social graph”, the infrastructure that Microsoft has built out for internet presence (Live Messenger, Spaces), collaborative business applications (SharePoint, CRM) and end-user enablement on the desktop (Excel, Word) are now rapidly converging into something new. To Steve’s point, Mesh could be an innovative way to rapidly innovate and distribute more of these scenarios while leveraging the people and tools we’re already tied into. SilverLight could be a big part of how the experience is delivered. Either way, something new and significant is coming together here.
I’m not sure that Steve sees it, but I’d say the future looks very bright here for Microsoft.
UPDATE- Steve sees it.