Bill Bows Out

In case you've been in a zen-like coding state for the past couple of days, Bill Gates is checking out the building. In hindsight, it's clear Bill has been edging closer and closer these last few years: first handing over the day to day to Steve Ballmer, then elevating Ray Ozzie to sit one step down from the throne.
Since everyone else with a heartbeat and a laptop have opined what this means for Microsoft, the software industry and the WBM (World Bill Made), I thought I’d weigh in with what a few predictions of what this means for micro-ISVs:

  • Go Live Go – Ray Ozzie gets the Net in ways Gates only reluctantly ever did. Now that Ozzie is The Man, expect to see the Live vision of the world get significantly more resources and prestige internally in Microsoft at all levels. On a practical level for developers, expect to see Microsoft build a true online ISV distribution channel – one that micro-ISVs will be able to get in on.
  • Big Ships Turn Slow – At the same time, Microsoft is a huge company nowadays, and huge companies at the top of their game turn very slowly. Office 12/Vista will unroll pretty much as planned over the next several years. After that though, I would not be surprised to see the next big Office/OS become a low cost core endpoint for consumers, business and enterprise pulling down from the MicrosoftNet added functionality tailoring the one size fits all to the era of customized everything.
  • A Better World? – At the risk of becoming the voodoo doll of choice among Microsoft-bashers, Bill has more than any other one person made the world we live in. As he devotes that incredible brainpower and capital to remaking education and healthcare worldwide, he will literally change and improve to the lives of a majority of the human race. Go Bill Go!

I think Ozzie will either

I think Ozzie will either take Microsoft to the next level, or drive them into the ground. Anyone actually using Groove?

I'd predict that Microsoft will get into the Software as a Service game as a platform for developers, like Saleforce.com has done. This model deals with the hosting, payment, security, and single sign-on, as well as a simple development platform to build on. MS is in a great position to do this with Vista over the next few years (OK, maybe the next 3-5 years when Vista is finally on all of those new PCs that we'll have to buy).

As far as Big Bill, I agree he's going to do amazing things to impact the education system. A guy with that kind of "get things done" power focusing on those problems could actually make a difference.

Dave Churchville
ExtremePlanner Software