When Ray Ozzie speaks, people listen. . .and bloggers blog

Microsoft CTO and Lotus Notes inventor Ray Ozzie continues to make headlines, whether it's speaking at the recent Web 2.0 conference or VortexSF 2005.

Microsoft chief technology officer and Lotus Notes inventor Ray Ozzie continues to make headlines, whether it's speaking at the recent Web 2.0 conference or VortexSF 2005. Here's a sampling of what some reporters and bloggers who were in attendance at these two events had to say.

On the iPod and the BlackBerry: At VortexSF 2005, Ozzie called Apple's iPod music player a "perfect example" of a product that marries hardware, software and services. He also pointed to RIM's BlackBerry, which brings together an e-mail device, server-based software and wireless data service. In both cases, people don't think about the individual pieces of the package, just about the tasks they want to do, such as listening to their music or getting e-mail on the go.

On making Microsoft Office browser-based: Don't expect Office to be migrated to the Web. Some applications, such as e-mail, lend themselves to Web treatment, and basic desktop software products, such as Excel and Word, will eventually take on many of the characteristics of today's browser-based Web services, he said. But applications very rich in functionality are not good candidates for full browser treatment. "I'm not a big believer that things are going to go all the way (i.e., pure Web) or all the way the other way," he said at Web 2.0. "Office will change because of the presence of the Internet and its capabilities, but it will be [gradual]." The plan is for Microsoft to determine what functionality can be offered via a Web browser and what requires richer client-side software, Ozzie said.

Further discussion on the subject can be found elsewhere.

On long delays between upgrades in Office: At Web 2.0, he attributed the long delays between upgrades to a function of the complexity of the internal complexity code base being released. "MSN is on a 6-month release cycle, Office on a several year cycle, and Vista is Vista," he said. Release cycles tend to lengthen as code bases grow in complexity.

On open document formats: At Web 2.0, he told a blogger that Microsoft isn't opposed to supporting formats other than Open Document Format (ODF) in Office,and in fact just announced support for PDF. Furthermore, the Open Office XML format has an "extremely liberal" license, Ozzie said. He attributed the tentativeness on ODF support in Office to resource allocation issues. Microsoft is reportedly working with a company to determine the scope of the problem in exporting Office documents to ODF. He also noted that Office has long supported HTML as a document format, which should fit with the criteria set by Massachusetts in its Enterprise Technical Reference Model.

On services-enabled software: While the idea that consumers might prefer to use Internet services rather than download software is pretty much accepted, taking business software out of the data center is still a fairly foreign concept to most companies, he said at VortexSF. Cheap and plentiful bandwidth has made it possible for businesses to get their software over the Internet, but Ozzie said that enterprises will still have to pay for their software in some way, regardless of how it is delivered.

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