Ray Ozzie, Bob Muglia, and Amitabh Srivastava participated in an informal blogger roundtable this afternoon at Microsoft’s Professional Developer conference. Although the morning keynote focused on Windows Azure’s infrastructure, Ozzie delved briefly into some of tomorrow’s announcements, implying that there might be surprises in the area of Office applications deployed on top of Azure. Srivastava confirmed that one of the demos featured a glimpse of an online version of Microsoft Word.
Muglia and Ozzie reminisced briefly of problems in Hailstorm that still aren’t solved with Azure. Muglia credited Identity architect Kim Cameron with important work in identity federation that is just now seeing the light of day in Azure’s automated identity provisioning. And Ozzie, Microsoft’s chief software architect, said sometimes people can get really enamored, overengineering the platform for the platform’s sake. He suggested apps developed during Azure’s community preview release beta will be much more important in driving the cloud platform forward.
Ozzie is actually encouraged that Amazon is in the game, saying he doesn’t know what competitors will do. But as a competitor of Microsoft before his current job, he notes: “The moment that Exchange was launched, Notes took off. The moment we can reasonably port apps from one platform to another, this will take off. Is the web the place to do it? Is the PC the way to do it? Is the phone the way to do it? Ozzie says “Yes!”