As many have been saying for months, beating to death on the Gillmor Gang, Ray Ozzie is leading the new Webified Microsoft strategy. David Kirkpatrick of Fortune tells the inside story, and outlines the brewing battle between Microsoft and the Web giants:
Microsoft has to move before Google or even Yahoo! offers its own large-scale services for businesses over the Web. Up to now those companies have focused on consumers, but it's widely believed in Silicon Valley that Google, at least, will soon launch corporate e-mail services to exploit the infrastructure it's already built for Gmail.
(Google is rumored to have a million servers around the world and, according to a knowledgeable source, is already the top electricity user in at least one large U.S. state. Google would not comment.)
Microsoft is planning to use its server farms to offer anyone huge amounts of online storage of digital data. It even has a name for that future service: Live Drive. With Live Drive, all your information - movies, music, tax information, a high-definition videoconference you had with your grandmother, whatever - could be accessible from anywhere, on any device.
Google apparently has similar plans. An internal memo accidentally posted online in March spoke of company efforts to "store 100 percent of user data" and mentions an unannounced Net-storage system called GDrive.