There's no denying the future - it is providing services via the web. We realize this at Microsoft. We know that it is about connections:
The bottom line is that the web is the hub and Microsoft knows this. Technology is converging on the web, which includes phones, PDAs, music players, and set-top boxes. That's why we are working hard to improve Sliverlight and IE 8.
I keep seeing this camel cased acronym SaaS - What is it?
We have conceded what others have been saying--that the PC is no longer the center of the computing experience. The new reality is called Software as a service (SaaS), which is a software application delivery model where a software vendor develops a web-native software application and hosts and operates (either independently or through a third-party) the application for use by its customers over the Internet.
Our implementation of software-services combo is called "Live Mesh."
Key Characteristics of SaaS
The key characteristics of SaaS software are:
. Network-based access to, and management of, commercially available (i.e., not custom) software
. Activities that are managed from central locations rather than at each customer's site, enabling customers to access applications remotely via the Web
. Application delivery that typically is closer to a one-to-many model (single instance, multi-tenant architecture) than to a one-to-one model, including architecture, pricing, partnering, and management characteristics
. Centralized feature updating, which obviates the need for downloadable patches and upgrades
Per User Pricing
SaaS applications are generally priced on a per-user basis, sometimes with a relatively small minimum number of users, and often with additional fees for extra bandwidth and storage.
SaaS revenue streams to the vendor are therefore lower initially than traditional software license fees, but are also recurring, and therefore viewed as more predictable, much like maintenance fees for licensed software.
Advertising - What's Up?
I get this question a lot. Why are we so worried about advertising?
Simple answer - because advertising will double in the next 3 years from $40 billion to $80 billion. What does our Chief Software Architect (Ray Ozzie) think about this? Unless something dramatic happens to change this, "content and commerce have been transformed by community innovation," says Ozzie.
The Enterprise is Embracing the Cloud - Utility Computing
The trend is that applications will be commoditized. We are moving towards utility computing. What is utility computing? Utility computing (also known as on-demand computing) is the packaging of computing resources, such as computation and storage, as a metered service similar to a physical public utility (such as electricity, water, natural gas, or telephone network).
This system has the advantage of a low or no initial cost to acquire hardware; instead, computational resources are essentially rented. Customers with very large computations or a sudden peak in demand can also avoid the delays that would result from physically acquiring and assembling a large number of computers. Do you agree? What do you see as the future? I'd like to hear it.