Former Microsoft exec details post-PC era

A former high-ranking Microsoft exec recently warned that the tech industry is poised to adopt a brave new “post PC” paradigm.

In a memo to employees just weeks before his departure was announced, Ray Ozzie confirmed that early adopters have already begun “moving away” from “artifacts” such as PCs, CD-installed programs, desktops, folders and files.

“Instead, to cope with the inherent complexity of a world of devices, a world of websites, and a world of apps & personal data that is spread across myriad devices & websites, a simple conceptual model is taking shape that brings it all together. 

“[Clearly], we’re moving toward a world of cloud-based continuous services that connect us all and do our bidding, and appliance-like connected devices [allowing] us to interact with those cloud-based services.”

According to Ozzie, connected devices “beyond the PC” will increasingly

arrive in a “breathtaking number” of shapes and sizes, each tuned for a broad variety of communications, creation and consumption tasks. 

“Each individual will interact with a fairly good number of these connected devices on a daily basis – their phone / internet companion; their car; a shared public display in the conference room, living room, or hallway wall.

“[Now], some of these connected devices may even grow to bear a resemblance to today’s desktop PC or clamshell laptop. But there’s one key difference in tomorrow’s devices: they’re relatively simple and fundamentally appliance-like by design, from birth.”

Ozzie explained that such connected devices were also instantly usable, interchangeable, and trivially replaceable without loss.  

“[Still], being appliance-like doesn’t mean that they’re not also quite capable in terms of storage; rather, it just means that storage has [moved] to being more cloud-centric than device-centric.

”A world of content – both personal and published – is streamed, cached or synchronized with a world of cloud-based continuous services.”

However, Ozzie emphasized that the current generation of phones and pads represented only “the very beginning,” of a major paradigm shift.

“We’ll see decades to come of incredible innovation from which will emerge all sorts of ‘connected companions’ that we’ll wear, we’ll carry, we’ll use on our desks & walls and the environment all around us.  

“Service-connected devices going far beyond just the ‘screen, keyboard and mouse’: humanly-natural ‘conscious’ devices that’ll see, recognize, hear & listen to you and what’s around you.

“They [will] feel your touch and gestures and movement, that’ll detect your proximity to others; that’ll sense your location, direction, altitude, temperature, heartbeat & health,” he added.