CNET interview with Ray Ozzie and his “quiet revolution at Microsoft”

No sooner do I talk about how Ray Ozzie is connecting with customers that I see this on CNET News today, discussing SilverLight at Mix and “about the company’s ongoing transition from the age of desktop software to a new era.”

Ozzie’s quiet revolution at Microsoft
Chief software architect Ray Ozzie says nearly everything Microsoft does will include an online services component.

There is this impression that Microsoft is protecting its turf when it comes to Web-based Office-style applications. You see Google doing it and start-ups like Zoho–and there are online ERP applications–and Microsoft hasn’t done that yet. But Microsoft could do it, so why don’t you?

Ozzie: People as far back as have done it. Well, I don’t know how to say it other than to say that we’re running a fairly significant business. Protecting implies setting up barriers–there are no barriers. These people are free to go take whatever solutions they want to put them in a browser. We believe–and I believe this deeply, I’ve been a desktop business for a while–that the deployment environment of using desktop tools on a PC is a really valuable one. Sometimes, just because you can doesn’t mean that you necessarily should. To the extent that there are scenarios that involve the Web that are very useful, we are going to go after those scenarios because it helps our customers–we got to stay focused on those customers.

We’re not going to be in a reactionary mode that just because somebody proves that something can be done, and it has some trade-offs, then we just immediately have to follow suit. I think that there are a lot of lessons they learned right now with those competitors of things that they’ve done that people just aren’t using, and things that they’ve done where people are actually using it in ways that they aren’t using desktop apps today. So I think that we are all learning from this and our product will end up in some hybrid form.