Yesterday, I heard Steven Sinofsky give an inspirational presentation about how far Microsoft has come with its Windows franchise–particularly Windows 7–and how they managed to scale to a division that earns more than half of its operating income. He shared with us the amount of work the entire Windows team put into the product to make it a success (You can find some of the engineering principles and demonstrations on his blog) and his vision for the future.
According to him, the future (the next few years anyway) is not basically a Web-Browser-OS. No, browser games will not replace desktop games. Internet photo-editing applications will not replace Photoshop. And as far as I know, there are no Internet IDEs (although that would be a creative idea). Until Internet connectivity becomes so speedy, inexpensive and ubiquitous, desktop functionality will still remain primary.
I can see the power of cloud computing–mainly if Google did something like Amazon’s elastic computing infrastructure or Microsoft’s Azure platform, and I know that Google plans to move in that direction. But until that happens–in which case we won’t need to continually upgrade our hardware just to keep up with the pace of software–client-side functionality is going to remain the main selling point.
Good job Google at trying to reinvent the operating system. Perhaps you are onto something, but as Sinofsky assured us, if Microsoft sees potential on the cloud, it will take advantage of it. But then again, the entire press is writing in response to a single blog post containing no details.