Tonight Ray Ozzie presented a very enlightening keynote on why software as a service is important (a disruption, to use his term), that it will fundamentally change the way we use computers, and where Microsoft's implementation of services, Windows Live, is heading. To Ozzie, services are a new important part but not a replacement of existing technologies, an extension of what exists already. He talked about the client – server – service synergy, where Windows Live services will add value to enterprise as well as consumer functions, and the idea that everything behind the corporate firewall was manageable and everything outside the firewall was out of control or rogue is outdated. People want to use laptops and cell phones and usb storage devices in a corporate environment, and Ozzie believes that Microsoft can help IT to manage life beyond the firewall. He talked about the importance of scale, that Microsoft and Windows Live deal with hundreds of millions of users every month, and enterprises will find themselves leveraging that scale to reduce their costs and increase their efficiencies, not by trusting all their data to third parties somewhere in the cloud, but by integrating client – server – service, using Windows Live where it makes sense, and managing it.
No demos tonight, just a screenshot of Windows Live Search for the Desktop giving an information worker "one view" of search across SharePoint, desktop, and internet, and a little toying around with Virtual Earth, but Ray Ozzie is an engaging speaker, and it's well worth watching. The video is still up at Tech Ed Home