Ray Ozzie’s Future

By Deane Barker on November 30, 2003

640KB ought to be enough for anyone: This was published a few weeks ago, and although I was beaten over the head with references to it in my aggregator, I just got around to reading it.

I don’t know what to think. The first part of the article is Ray Ozzie’s (of Groove fame) opinion of what the new WinFS / Longhorn technology will provide us. He paints some great pictures about what this “tear down and reconstruct” ethos will give us.

Imagine what a traditional PIM might look like if it were possible to build it in a modular fashion, with each modules’ underlying object schemas, store, and methods exposed as standards so that others could build upon them? Imagine building custom domain-specific client-side CRM/SFA solutions that might leverage these common standards.

What I worry about here is that the company building the “standards” is Microsoft. Not that I hate Microsoft, but Ozzie paints it like there’s an independent commission building something that we can all agree on, which isn’t the case. Microsoft is building it, and we’ll do with it what they say we can. Can something created by a single company ever be called a “standard”?

Later, he shifts gears into the “every technology gets obsolete someday” mode and makes a good point on broadband and our thirst for bandwidth:

This feels truly wonderful as compared to where we came from – dial-up. But before too long, this “fat pipe” is likely going to feel progressively slower, and slower, and slower. Why?

Just think about it: Increasingly we’re generating “personal content.” LOTS of it. […] As we drag & drop gigabyte stacks of digital photos from PC to PC, and as we drag & drop gigabyte collections of records from centralized services to our laptops so we can do some ad hoc business analytics, the 256KB crossload speed (or even a megabyte download speed) is almost certainly going to start feeling like dial-up…