Live From Microsoft’s PDC Keynote

By  |  Monday, October 27, 2008 at 8:35 am

I’m at the Los Angeles Convention Center for Microsoft’s Professional Developer Conference, the programmber confab at which the company will first talk about Windows 7 in real detail. Day one’s keynote is about to start, and I’ll update this post frequently as it progresses, connectivity willing…

FIRST UPDATE: I said “connectivity willing,” didn’t I? I have two laptops with me and two forms of Internet connectivity (Wi-Fi and EVDO), and everything is being amazingly unreliable. If I seem to disappear, that’s why. But I’m trying…

While I was away, Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie announced a new version of Windows. Nope, not Windows 7–Windows Azure, which is a platform for Web-based apps, competitive with Amazon’s Web Services. (Ozzie deftly tipped his hat to Amazon for getting there first while seemingly saying that Microsoft had been working on it longer.) This is “Windows Cloud,” which we knew was coming.

We’re now hearing about Azure in detail, and it’s heavy-duty developer stuff: virtualization, 24/7 availability, etc., etc. And a Microsoft developer is about to write a simple program (yep, one that displays the text “Hello World PDC”) on stage as we watch.

As I mentioned before, incidentally, there’s another keynote tomorrow morning: That’ll apparently be the one at which the Windows 7 news comes out. In fact, it’ll be interesting to see if anyone up there even mentions the words “Windows 7” this morning.

MORE UPDATE: An exec from a mobile social network called BlueHoo is showing how the company used Azure to develop its sevice. BlueHoo involves little animated critters that look like Gonzo from the Muppets. Your Hoo is blue if you’re a boy and pink if you’re a girl. Weird…but it involves services and desktop apps and mobile apps, and the exec is explaining that Azure makes it all possible. And, of course, makes it all highly scalable. “We hope you love BlueHoo as much as we do.”

Azure, we’re now hearing, will be rolled out bit by bit. “Windows Azure is our operating system for the cloud.” It sounds interesting and important to Microsoft–but one sign of its success will be if it’s all so transparent that consumers don’t even know it’s there.

We’re now getting more discussion of how Azure allows for Web apps with great uptime. It’s fascinating to ponder how rapidly the tech world is changing: In a world in which services are more important than software, It’s entirely possible that Azure, or something like Azure, could end up being the core of Microsoft’s business. But it’s a very different proposition than the desktop and server operating systems that got the company to where it is today.

Now we’re hearing about identity–users, and their information–and how Azure handles it. And how Azure works with microsoft’s SQL Services database tools. Here’s a rep from RedPrairie Software, which does supply-chain management stuff, to talk about how it’s using Azure.

IDLE THOUGHT: Not only have we not heard the words “Windows 7” so far…I don’t think we’ve heard “Windows Vista,” either.

RedPrairie demo is over. (It involved Contoso, an imaginary company that’s appeared in Microsoft demos for ever–it appears to make everything from batteries to pharmaceuticals to sporting goods.)

We’re getting more explanation of Azure. If you’re not a developer who might want to use Azure, it’s kind of boring. And that’s the point–Azure is supposed to take care of a zillion unglamorous things that need to happen to make Web services work smoothly.

Now we’re hearing that Microsoft doesn’t expect on-premises software and systems to go away…but it does see a lot of the things that would have involved on-premises code in the past to migrate to the cloud. As does everyone.

Microsoft guy on stage is comparing this PDC to the one in 1992 at Moscone Center in San Francisco. That was the one that Windows NT was introduced at.

Now we’re hearing about Microsoft Online Services–hosted versions of Microsoft apps like Exchange and SharePoint. More geeky stuff…

Here’s Ray Ozzie, back to recap this keynote and preview what’s ahead. He just used the word “infrastructual” and is talking about how services need to scale to the Web. He’s thanking everyone in this giant room full of developers, and is telling them they can download Azure tools later today. Azure will be a free technology preview at first, and will evolve based on developer feedback.

That’s this morning’s keynote. Tomorrow’s one, which will put Windows 7 in the spotlight, should be a lot more interesting to a lot more people…



3 Comments For This Post

  1. NanoGeek Says:

    Are you not going to use the software that you used during the Apple coverage?

  2. Harry McCracken Says:

    Not today, and it’s just as well–connectivity stinks. I’m hoping to be in better shape for tomorrow’s keynote, though…


  3. NanoGeek Says:

    Great. Thanks for going to all the trouble to give us the info live too. 🙂