RWW has an interesting post about Microsoft being sexier and more intuitive in the future…and although I agree with the author’s comment that it’s a great example of what can lead to Microsoft’s success in the future, I disagree with their comments that this vision of the future is drastically different from their current efforts (aka Vista).
Microsoft has demonstrated that what they do best is creating an environment that fosters ubiquitous computing, especially those boring details that are so necessary to make it work (protocol development, communication hubs, interconnectivity). Yes, Vista did have some challenges, but most of the buggy behaviour people compained about were either those caused by 3rd party drivers, or simply because it was a big change. So yes, I concede, Microsoft is not good at managing change (think back to Vista and the Office Ribbon for example) but they are good at making computing work – Vista’s user interface and the ribbon *are* better UI’s – they’re just different. And so they get a lot of flack.
So, to return to the video mentioned on RWW, I argue that Microsoft’s vision isn’t really that much of a change from their current direction – they make computing work. This really is just an extension of ”a computer on every desktop” – computing in everyone’s hand. And the technologies they showed aren’t really that sexy: identity card management? educational exploration interfaces? television remotes? Can you really imagine someone talking with the same excitement about their “digital wallet” as they do right now about their iPhone? No – Microsoft definitely isn’t going sexier, they’re still going utilitarian…they just have a better video production company now.