Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hey Microsoft, Get Out of the Cloud

The personal computer revolution began as an attempt to move away from centralized control, allowing people to have a system that was powerful, yet individualized. Big companies who hogged computing were seen as evil. Soon everything became self-contained and desktop-centric. There was desktop publishing, desktop marketing, desktop mapping. Now everything is supposed to move to that mainframe in the sky—the cloud.

But the cloud stinks. Its applications have always been much slower than their desktop counterparts. Try to get to the end cell of a large cloud-based shreadsheet. You'll long for the desktop version. The whole process is exacerbated by the speed of the Internet. The Internet is also unreliable. A couple of weeks ago, I was down for two hours. A month ago, I lost my connection for 20-plus hours.

And where is Microsoft in all of this? The company seems to keep forgetting what business it's in. While Windows 7 and Office continue to be huge cash cows with no end in sight, the company is encouraging the idea of cloud computing by claiming that that is the direction it's headed in, as well. Huh?

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