The New Software Industry: Craig Mundie

Craig Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer at Microsoft, gave today’s lunch address; this post is out of order because I was not about to whip out my laptop and displace the best conference lunch that I have ever had — grilled Kobe beef over salad greens in a lemon fennel vinaigrette with baby pear tomatoes, spiced candied walnuts, Point Reyes blue cheese and a puff pastry triangle with balsamic reduction, followed by a marquise au chocolat of dark truffle chocolate, garnished with whole hazelnuts, a chocolate leaf and fresh raspberries — so I took notes in an actual paper notebook. Microsoft did host us in their well-appointed conference facilities and provided the afore-mentioned lunch, so they deserve the time to chat us up during lunch.

Mundie, who interpreted all the morning’s discussions about services to the narrowly focussed SaaS definition, discussed how there are opportunities to complement internal enterprise applications with services that are in the cloud.

He spent quite a bit of time discussing processor speed increases, based on the premise that we’ve reached a fundamental limit to processor speeds at around 3GHz (since increases without spontaneous combustion have been achieved in the past by lowering voltages, which just can’t be lowered any further), and how multi-core processors is what will cause the next way of processor speed increases. The result of this, however, is that machines that already are operating at far below capacity will have even more idle cycles. He discussed the idea of “fully productive computing” to absorb the idle cycles by such speculative execution activities as anticipating and preloading the next most likely applications that the user will run — a discussion that turned into a brief ad for Microsoft Vista.

In response to a question about the local platform as a “solution” for privacy concerns, he spoke about how providing notice of information gathering, and choice as to how that information is used, alleviates most of the concerns about privacy in a hosted environment.

That’s it for my coverage of the New Software Industry conference. All the presentations will be available online in about a week, and within a few weeks all of the video recorded during the sessions will be on Google Video.

I’ve already attended the opening reception for TUCON, and I’ll be full on with blogging about that tomorrow, except when I’m presenting late in the day.

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