"Wait until you see what Ray Ozzie is doing"

I left Microsoft almost two years ago and even before I left I heard “wait until you see what Ray Ozzie is doing.” For two years I’ve checked in occassionally with his team to see if they are ready and for two years I’ve heard silence.

So, now it looks like they are going to bring out their Web Services strategy at Mix this week.

I have some questions, though.

1. My wife’s blog is on Microsoft’s Live Spaces and it’s always been slow, slow, slow. So, why should we believe that Microsoft’s new Web Services are going to be fast, fast, fast?
2. Hotmail doesn’t work very well on non-Internet Explorer browsers. So, why should we believe that Microsoft’s new Web Services are going to be really standards based?
3. When I left Microsoft very few employees focused their work on the Internet. In fact, the day I left I read all of Bill Gates’ Thinkweek papers. Only about 10% had anything to do with Internet stuff and only a small fraction of those had anything to do with Web Services. So, why should we believe that Microsoft’s smartest people are focused on this effort?
4. When I’ve gotten a look into Google’s data centers I see they are outstripping Microsoft’s efforts everywhere. Google even builds its own disk drivers to optimize the speed at which data gets taken off of those Seagate drives (I only saw Seagate drives in the data center I got into. Disclaimer: Seagate is now sponsoring my show on FastCompany.tv) and put into your browser. Microsoft, however, relies on outside developers to build much of the drivers that run its equipment. So, why should be believe that Microsoft will build infrastructure that can beat that of Google or Amazon? (Thanks to open source, Google rolls much of its innovative work in infrastructure back into Linux, which is open to other data center providers, like those you see running Amazon’s Web Services).
5. Internet services, when new, are almost always brittle. Remember eBay in its early days? It was down for two days straight. Lately? We haven’t heard a story like that about eBay in many years. Amazon and Google have had Web Services running for years now and, while they still have an occassional burp, are fairly robust and are reliable. Many businesses are now getting to the point where they trust these services to stay up. Why should be believe that Microsoft’s new services will stay up under load?

If Ray Ozzie can answer these questions then the world might start paying attention. Either way, looks like it’s a good thing I’m going to Mix.

Comments

  1. maybe MS could get the telescope people to do the new web services release… then we’d have tears of joy rather than hotmail pains

  2. maybe MS could get the telescope people to do the new web services release… then we’d have tears of joy rather than hotmail pains

  3. Andrew: actually, if the telescope’s back end is running on the new datacenters and it stays up, even after everyone gets it and starts playing, then that’ll be a major demonstration that the back end is ready to rumble with serious projects.

  4. Andrew: actually, if the telescope’s back end is running on the new datacenters and it stays up, even after everyone gets it and starts playing, then that’ll be a major demonstration that the back end is ready to rumble with serious projects.

  5. Robert – trust your instincts regarding Ray’s perfectionism. Look for more on that later this year maybe. Regarding offline Office…don’t hold your breath for MIX. There may be other big news but more about real, moneymaking businesses rather than money-losing businesses like Google Apps. Arrington is smoking crack if he thinks Google’s pulling in $400MM/hear from Google apps. Do the math. It doesn’t hold up.

  6. Robert – trust your instincts regarding Ray’s perfectionism. Look for more on that later this year maybe. Regarding offline Office…don’t hold your breath for MIX. There may be other big news but more about real, moneymaking businesses rather than money-losing businesses like Google Apps. Arrington is smoking crack if he thinks Google’s pulling in $400MM/hear from Google apps. Do the math. It doesn’t hold up.

  7. There is an inherent logical inconsistency here that I don’t see how Microsoft can resolve to its benefit. A browser-based, standards compliant shift to ‘cloud computing’ makes the operating system irrelevant and the Office Suite obsolete. Those are the cash cows, Robert, the crown jewels. In effect, Microsoft has no option that doesn’t cause it as much pain as benefit.

  8. There is an inherent logical inconsistency here that I don’t see how Microsoft can resolve to its benefit. A browser-based, standards compliant shift to ‘cloud computing’ makes the operating system irrelevant and the Office Suite obsolete. Those are the cash cows, Robert, the crown jewels. In effect, Microsoft has no option that doesn’t cause it as much pain as benefit.

  9. Mike: it does NOT work “perfectly.”

    Want me to do a video of how much it sucks?

    It just sits here on my screen saying “Loading…”

    Yes, I can load the classic version, but then I don’t have all the features of the Internet Explorer version.

    Of course, maybe that’s your definition of “works perfectly.” It’s not mine.

    I’m using Firefox 3.0b3 on Vista Ultimate.

  10. Mike: it does NOT work “perfectly.”

    Want me to do a video of how much it sucks?

    It just sits here on my screen saying “Loading…”

    Yes, I can load the classic version, but then I don’t have all the features of the Internet Explorer version.

    Of course, maybe that’s your definition of “works perfectly.” It’s not mine.

    I’m using Firefox 3.0b3 on Vista Ultimate.

  11. Robert,

    I don’t use Hotmail everyday, but I do use it under Vista with Firefox. I just loaded it here and it loaded in about 8 seconds. Gmail loads in about the same time. Not sure what the problem could be on your end.

  12. Robert,

    I don’t use Hotmail everyday, but I do use it under Vista with Firefox. I just loaded it here and it loaded in about 8 seconds. Gmail loads in about the same time. Not sure what the problem could be on your end.

  13. It’s prob because you’re using a version of FF that changed (i.e. broke) things from 2.0. Use the released version. It DOES work perfectly. Can’t expect all sites to work with a moving target.

    If you’d like to do a video of Hotmail on Firefox, I can hook you up with some folks to demo it working ;)

  14. It’s prob because you’re using a version of FF that changed (i.e. broke) things from 2.0. Use the released version. It DOES work perfectly. Can’t expect all sites to work with a moving target.

    If you’d like to do a video of Hotmail on Firefox, I can hook you up with some folks to demo it working ;)

  15. “Hotmail doesn’t work very well on non-Internet Explorer browsers. So, why should we believe that Microsoft’s new Web Services are going to be really standards based?”

    Robert, what are you talking about. We test FireFox on Mac and PC in both the Full and the Classic version. There are only 2 features that are not supported in FireFox on the Full version:

    1) real time spell check (ok cause FireFox 2 has built in spell check)
    2) the divider between the folder list and the message list is not resisable.

    It appears you are using a beta of FireFox 3. Do you expect Hotmail to run flawlessly with it?

  16. “Hotmail doesn’t work very well on non-Internet Explorer browsers. So, why should we believe that Microsoft’s new Web Services are going to be really standards based?”

    Robert, what are you talking about. We test FireFox on Mac and PC in both the Full and the Classic version. There are only 2 features that are not supported in FireFox on the Full version:

    1) real time spell check (ok cause FireFox 2 has built in spell check)
    2) the divider between the folder list and the message list is not resisable.

    It appears you are using a beta of FireFox 3. Do you expect Hotmail to run flawlessly with it?

  17. Try Hotmail with Firefox on Linux. Or even better, try using Opera on any OS. When you finally commit to standards, both of those should work.

    I’m using FF 2.0.0.12 and Opera 9.25 on Fedora 8/Ubuntu 7.10/Win XP SP2.

    But aside from the Hotmail issues, I think MS has to get with Web services, because a number of people are going with Google Docs or Zoho, (both of which can import/export ODF documents as well as the Microsoft binary formats) or with ThinkFree.

  18. Try Hotmail with Firefox on Linux. Or even better, try using Opera on any OS. When you finally commit to standards, both of those should work.

    I’m using FF 2.0.0.12 and Opera 9.25 on Fedora 8/Ubuntu 7.10/Win XP SP2.

    But aside from the Hotmail issues, I think MS has to get with Web services, because a number of people are going with Google Docs or Zoho, (both of which can import/export ODF documents as well as the Microsoft binary formats) or with ThinkFree.

  19. I left Microsoft almost a years ago and even before I left I always stated “wait until you see what Ray Ozzie is doing!” For one year I’ve heard silence.

    1. I never visited Live Spaces again.
    2. I still use Hotmail; in my case not in a browser, but poorly connected to Outlook.
    3. A small fraction of people I knew had to do with Internet. A small fraction of them had a clue of Web 2.0.
    4. Data centers? Never heard of that topic in EMEA.
    5. – Cannot comment on that one -

    All I notice is that as soon as my Outlook starts, my machine becomes unresponsive, as soon as I fire up Windows Live Messenger my Outlook freezes and crashes every other day. Saving a local Excel sheet 100k in size takes 15 seconds. What else do I have to wait for until I switch to a non-Microsoft cloud?

  20. I left Microsoft almost a years ago and even before I left I always stated “wait until you see what Ray Ozzie is doing!” For one year I’ve heard silence.

    1. I never visited Live Spaces again.
    2. I still use Hotmail; in my case not in a browser, but poorly connected to Outlook.
    3. A small fraction of people I knew had to do with Internet. A small fraction of them had a clue of Web 2.0.
    4. Data centers? Never heard of that topic in EMEA.
    5. – Cannot comment on that one -

    All I notice is that as soon as my Outlook starts, my machine becomes unresponsive, as soon as I fire up Windows Live Messenger my Outlook freezes and crashes every other day. Saving a local Excel sheet 100k in size takes 15 seconds. What else do I have to wait for until I switch to a non-Microsoft cloud?

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