Report: Ballmer hints at 'Windows Cloud'

In a speech in London, the Microsoft chief executive reportedly talks about a coming cloud-based OS, as well as plans to allow light Office document editing over the Web.

Tech Industry

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told a crowd in London that Microsoft this month will show off its new development environment for Internet-based applications--what he dubbed "Windows Cloud."

Steve Ballmer
Steve Ballmer

Although the term--which may or may not be the product's actual name--is new, Microsoft has been widely expected to unveil its cloud-based developer platform at the Professional Developer Conference at the end of October. Ballmer's comments, reported on Wednesday by IDG News Service, are the latest in a series of mentions of a cloud-based developer platform. Ballmer was asked at last week's Churchill Club speech about Red Dog, the company's rumored answer to Amazon's EC2 service.

Ballmer declined to comment about "Red Dog," but promised Microsoft would have much more to say at the company's PDC. Ballmer also said Red Dog and other cloud computing efforts are key to winning the battle for developers, particularly Web developers.

"I think at the end of the day, cloud computing will be dictated by the interests and the degree to which you capture the imagination of developers," Ballmer said.

Microsoft unveiled its Live Mesh effort earlier this year for consumers, but promised that developers would be able to write their own Mesh-enabled applications, with tools coming at the October PDC. Microsoft executives have recently suggested an even broader look at Microsoft's cloud-based strategy will come at the event.

In his London speech, Ballmer also reportedly said Microsoft will soon allow "light editing" of Office documents over the Web, again according to the IDG report.

"That's all I can say on that," Ballmer was quoted as saying. "Otherwise, we have no drum-roll announcement in a month."

Microsoft's Office Live Workspace currently allows for online storage and viewing of documents, but not the editing offered by Google Docs and other online services.

A Microsoft representative was not immediately able to confirm, or comment on, Ballmer's remarks.

Update: They did issue the following statement:

As we've discussed publicly, Microsoft is investing heavily in its Software (plus) Services vision, particularly as it relates to the services platform to deliver a set of solutions that address our customer's needs. In addition to our current, widely adopted service-based technologies, such as Microsoft Online Services and Office Live Workspaces, we are working with many of our customers, partners and our broad developer community to understand their needs for extensible, scalable services platforms. We have publicly discussed a road map of commitments for our services strategy, most notably from Ray Ozzie at MIX 08 and the Financial Analyst Meeting. We are excited to talk more about our progress and opportunities for customers and partners at the Professional Developers Conference in a few weeks, but we don't have any further details to share at this time.
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