Netbooks soar to the clouds, dragging Microsoft with them

In Information industry on October 29, 2008 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , , ,

A little cluster of stories today from the FT. Firstly, those little mini-notebooks (or ‘netbooks’) that you can get for a couple of hundred quid and slip comfortably into your bag are proving to buck the economic downturn and become bestsellers; get yours quickly, as stores reckon they’ll all be out of stock by Christmas. For the most part they generally have but little internal storage capacity, and rely instead on data and applications drawn from the internet: cloud computing. Sadly, by the way, for you Apple acolytes out there, there’s nothing on the horizon for you. Said Steve Jobs, ”We don’t know how to make a $500 computer that’s not a piece of junk, and our DNA will not let us ship that.”

But regardless of whether we think Steve Jobs will soon be eating his words, the reliance of netbooks on cloud computing acts as a nice little link to the second FT story today, and that is to announce that “after years of hesitation, Microsoft is finally ready to take a big leap into the world of internet-based computing.” Yes, we all assumed that as cloud computing slowly took over (or will it?), dearly beloved MS would slowly slip away as Google completes its takeover of the multiverse. Well, MS have decided that perhaps they need to step up to the plate (my second americanism today – what’s going on? Must be the effect of the World Series) and indeed on Monday in LA they will reveal to the world what they’ve been up to with regards to the development of their very own cloud computing platform. We should note that MS make most of their money from Word, Excel etc., and they’d be rather worried should cloud computing eat into those profits… we should also note that certain big names, such as Larry Ellison, the head of Oracle, dismiss cloud computing as “little more than a fad”. I do wonder if he might be right?

But regardless of whether I will soon be eating my words, the third story is simply that Microsoft has so far “weathered the economic downturn better than expected, with sales in the three months to the end of September topping Wall Street estimates.“, which I’m sure we all agree is good to know. I wonder what Bill will do with the money?


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