Future of Technology: The Ned View

I recently gave an interview to a pair of researchers about what I thought was coming in future technology. Apparently, I said some useful things, so I got a transcript, and here it is!  Thanks to many for re-posting! 1. INVISIBLE A couple things I think are essential about technology. Really good technology should be mostly invisible to the user. Technology in general should be something that lets people get to their goal or their task focus. Without being in the way. It should be a layer that almost does not exist. So if you think about clothing for example, clothing can move smoothly and quickly rather than clothing that restrains and constricts you. The goal of good software is to enable you to move faster, not slow you down. For example, a touch screen gets...

Read More

Windows Live Brand Confusion

I find the recent branding work by Microsoft interesting… especially as they seem to be falling — yet again — into the same issues I document in my book about Microsoft and what’s next. For starters, as Todd Bishop notes in his Microsoft Blog (available at Seattle PI Tech section), the company can’t make up its mind if it is going to promote MSN, Windows Live or Microsoft Live — and as the users comment note, no one can quite figure out the difference between these different services — even employees themselves! Secondly, and less important, Microsoft hasn’t yet figured out what Apple knew years ago — that using one consistent naming convention, and one consistent metaphor — communicates better than any...

Read More

Beyond Microsoft: Chapter 2

Chapter 2: Revenue to the Wind… Web Services and .NET “If you let yourself get too comfortable, you start converting creative energy into defensive energy, and you spend all your time just protecting what you’ve got.” – New Yorker Editor William Shawn Winning with Web Services The new world of Web services was potentially worth a lot more to Microsoft than boxed software sales. According to his biographer, CEO Steve Ballmer had realized as early as 1998 that “it was the Internet, not the desktop, that would rule the future.” In order to win in the new world of Web services, the company tried to create another positive feedback loop. Microsoft plays to win, and only another whirlwind-like cycle of Windows proportions would allow Microsoft to dominate once...

Read More

Beyond Microsoft: Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Winning the Browser, Losing the War   “One day, somebody will catch us napping. One day, an eager young upstart will put Microsoft out of business. I just hope it’s fifty years from now, not two or five.” – Bill Gates, in Business at the Speed of Thought Beating the First Wave In 1996, Microsoft was under attack. I was one of Microsoft’s warriors, fighting the incoming tsunami of the “Internet tidal wave” when all the Web technologies were brand new. “The Internet is destroying our position as the setter of standards,” Bill Gates wrote in an internal company memo. “The Internet is taking away our power every day and in time will have eroded it irretrievably…” On Pearl Harbor day, Bill frantically marshaled the troops. We would defend...

Read More

Beyond Microsoft: Prologue

Prologue — Victory to Defeat: 1994-2004 Ten Years in the Trenches Microsoft’s obituary was first written in 1994. Companies like Netscape, Sun and Oracle were rising threats on the Internet. Yet Bill Gates rallied the troops and together our team faced down the “Internet tidal wave” that threatened to swamp our company. By 1997, I was part of the horde of ex-Internet developers and business leaders who left Microsoft and worked as a consultant in the burgeoning Website development industry. Eventually I was asked to join Adobe Systems – creators of PhotoShop and Acrobat – to work on a new Internet Products Group, shipping development suites that would compete with creative tools like Microsoft FrontPage and Macromedia DreamWeaver. Adobe’s team were excited...

Read More

Enjoy what you read? Share!