I said in a previous post that I didn’t dislike the Gates/Seinfeld Churro Ad. That (and the recent TWiT discussion about it and cloud computing) got me thinking about what Microsoft could do to resuscitate themselves.
It seems to me that Apple presents itself as the creative platform. Microsoft, on the other hand seems to be the business platform. What do business users care about? Productivity.There’s been an explosion of productivity sites and productivity software in the past 2 years which is when I started noticing. Getting Things Done (GTD) seems to be the most predominant of the kind.
What if Microsoft built such frameworks right into the operating system? What if you could tag any object (file, web site, email, instant messages) with a to-do item and a due date and/or with an address to whom you need to email (or IM) about it? What if this capability were integrated (by your operating system) into email and calendaring.
In truth, having a basic calendaring program in Vista (with iCal subscription support) is a step in the right direction, but there still is no true integration. You can’t program the calendar to run tasks, send emails, or even keep track of due dates. Yes, I know Apple is better at this; they certainly do have a head-start.
This is a place where Microsoft could out-do Apple, and it doesn’t seem that hard to accomplish to me. There’s no need for new hardware; just an API and some applications. If Microsoft can’t do API’s and applications anymore, then they’re in big trouble.
It doesn’t stop here. Such a facility could be expanded even further. You could tag things for blogging or content management. What if you could easily share any item (picture, document, etc.) and it would upload/sync to a content management system?
What if Microsoft would develop an API that allows windows to sync with the cloud? Not just files, etc., but anything? What if it would support a pre-sync encryption right in the OS to keep your data private? Right now our the model is for a desktop application to phone the cloud server. What if, instead, your web site could call your desktop computer? You wouldn’t have to sync your computer before you leave in the morning for work. When you go to your cloud application, it would sync (on demand) with your computer at home. Of course, there is a huge security risk here, and Microsoft’s pre-Vista track record hasn’t been great. But, that’s a place where they could innovate, do things right, and differentiate themselves.
Yeah: these aren’t silver bullets, but it would be a compelling feature that certainly would sway me. But hey, that’s just me. What about you?