Microsoft's ServiceOS: A potential piece of Microsoft's cloud play, post-Windows 8

Microsoft's ServiceOS: A potential piece of Microsoft's cloud play, post-Windows 8

Summary: Last summer, Microsoft researchers were describing their ServiceOS project as a "multi-principal OS-based browser" designed to provide control of web applications and devices. This year, the description of ServiceOS has evolved

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I've been tracking for a few years now the Microsoft Research project known as MashupOS, then Gazelle, and most recently ServiceOS.

Last summer, Microsoft researchers were describing ServiceOS as a "multi-principal OS-based browser" designed to provide control of web applications and devices.

This year, the description of ServiceOS has evolved. Charon at Ma-Config.com -- who tipped me recently to Microsoft Research's Drawbridge library OS initiative, sent me a link to a new abstract explaining ServiceOS that lead researcher Helen Wang posted for the recent TechFest 2011 research fair.

(ServiceOS wasn't one of the TechFest 2011 natural-user-interface-focused projects that Microsoft touted publicly this year. I guess it was featured during the part of the TechFest fair that wasn't open to selected press and analysts.)

The changes in how the Softies are explaining ServiceOS are pretty significant. The new abstract specifies that ServiceOS supports thesoftware-as-a-serive (SaaS) paradigm. Via ServiceOS, a "master copy of a user's applications resides in the cloud and cached on her end devices," the new abstract explained.

"The ServiceOS project aims to address many challenges faced by our Windows Phone platform, post Windows 8 platform, the browser platform, and Office platform," the abstract said.

At TechFest 2011, according to the abstract, the researchers demonstrated a MinWin-based ServiceOS prototype. They showed how traditional applications, like Microsoft Word, can run on ServiceOS and how rich Web content, like a YouTube video, can be embedded "without sacrificing security."

As with all Microsoft Research projects, there is no guarantee as to if or when they will become -- in part or in total -- incorporated into Microsoft's commercial product line-up. However, Wang seems to have a pretty solid record, in terms of her technology-transfer success rate. I'll be watching to see how ServiceOS morphs next....

Topics: Microsoft, Browser, Cloud, Emerging Tech, Operating Systems, Software

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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15 comments
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  • A change to Windows coming

    I was just thinking that they might finally change Windows to a MinWin/Singularity/Midori model with a high enphasis on security and stability by Windows 10. Given it should be 2012 when Win8 comes out, 2015 by Win9, 2018 for Win10.

    7 years sounds like a good amount of time to get all the problems with compatability out of the way. If they can get a good VM/Hypervisor solution in place and get people used to it, they could really make a splash.

    the UI can still be an evolution of Windows but if they keep it on x86-64 and ARM they should be able to move quicker and ramp up conversion to the crazy new kernals they are dreaming up.

    Just my two cents...
    TheRackow
    • RE: Microsoft's ServiceOS: A potential piece of Microsoft's cloud play, post-Windows 8

      @TheRackow - you and l think alike ;)

      http://www.bitcrazed.com/post/2011/03/10/Microsoft?s-Desktop-Virtualization-Plans-Evolve.aspx
      De-Void
    • RE: Microsoft's ServiceOS: A potential piece of Microsoft's cloud play, post-Windows 8

      @TheRackow

      I've been thinking something similar, I have a hunch that either Windows 8 or 9 is going to represent a big shift, perhaps going as far as breaking a lot of backwards compatability. I think the longevity of XP has shown that companies really don't need brand new OS's that often, especially as more applications become web-based. Given a few more service packs and ongoing support Win 7 could last until 2020 whilst new versions of Windows go in a more "cloudy" direction.

      May as well make a prediction, they'll try and do it with Windows 8 (MS's "biggest gamble") and make a complete mess of it, then get it right with Windows 9.
      OffsideInVancouver
      • Support for business versions of WIN7 is until 2020

        @OffsideInVancouver Windows 7 Professional and Enterprise editions include 10 years of support, so obviously by then, businesses would likely be off it and on Windows 8 or 10. The way I look at it though, Windows 7 is the new Windows XP. Microsoft has created an OS so good, its gonna be extremely hard to sell future releases since the good enough idea will be a major quality of Windows 7.
        Mr. Dee
      • RE: Microsoft's ServiceOS: A potential piece of Microsoft's cloud play, post-Windows 8

        @OffsideInVancouver I agree with Mr. Dee!!! Win 7 is such a great OS and it works!!!! It is no doubt the next XP... Companies are making the switch from XP to 7... I think this will be a common trend in the office (skipping several feature releases). We cannot forget about the home users... many of them want the latest and greatest!!!
        apetti
    • RE: Microsoft's ServiceOS: A potential piece of Microsoft's cloud play, post-Windows 8

      @TheRackow
      I have a feeling it will be sooner than that. The reason ARM. If windows 8 is going to be on ARM and x86/64 then that will break bianary compatabiltiy with legacy applications on the ARM port. This means at least the ARM port wont need win 32/64 apis, probably no registry, and other legacy parts of windows. Windows ARM will most likely be all managed as far as applications go and possibly drivers too. So if a developer wants to write code one time and deploy it on Windows ARM and x86/64 then they will write in managed code. By the time windows 9 comes around there should be a large percentage of applications written in managed code. This would transition nicely to a midori core, which requires all application to be written in managed code. So in short windows 8 will be laying the ground work for midori which will be introduced in windows 9
      evilsushi
  • RE: Microsoft's ServiceOS: A potential piece of Microsoft's cloud play, post-Windows 8

    Getting us all to comply and conform to an MS standard cloud based OS is a Microsoft dream. They can have complete access to your data, your system, no standards to worry about, and no 3rd party competition. Yes, the highway to hell is lined with a beautiful view of the fires below, it doesn't burn you until you get there and can't leave.
    Socratesfoot
    • RE: Microsoft's ServiceOS: A potential piece of Microsoft's cloud play, post-Windows 8

      @Socratesfoot
      Sorry you are so scared, perhaps you should check the duct tape around your tinfoil hat?
      willfordcr
    • I see that both Apple and Google have done that

      @Socratesfoot
      so why should Microsoft not do that?
      Tim Cook
    • RE: Microsoft's ServiceOS: A potential piece of Microsoft's cloud play, post-Windows 8

      @Socratesfoot The whole purpose behind Cloud computing is that "someone else" will house your data and applications.

      Be it MSFT or Redhat or Oracle or Canonical or Amazon or Google or Whomever.

      The key to all of this is IP (Information Protection) compliance and that's something that the industry will need to work out. It's not going to be an easy thing to accomplish and like HIPPA, I "suspect" the federal government may get its fingers involved with this at some point as well.
      findsomecommonground
      • RE: Microsoft's ServiceOS: A potential piece of Microsoft's cloud play, post-Windows 8

        @kpkeller... There is a difference. With the exception of Microsoft, these companies have not made any attempt to force users through proprietary software into dependencies that would prevent competition. Microsoft most certainly has. <br><br>@Mr.Spock The MS business model combined with cloud computing presents a scenario where small businesses lured in initially with discount pricing will be locked in and unable to migrate to anyone else. It's a concern because the government has done an incredibly piss poor job of bringing forward and prosecuting anti-trust cases.<br><br>@willfordcr You should be scared too. Competition is the only thing keeping MS affordable. A system where you buy a server license, per user CALS, then have to buy a DB license, also with CALS, Exchange license, and CALS; etc. is a one way trip to financial ruin if there is no way to grow without them...I'd personally like a way to get off the train if I choose to. But right now MS locks all the doors. All I'm saying is that compliance with standards, especially in regards to exporting and importing data and web coding should and be a prerequisite to the deployment of cloud based apps. Right now IE especially, and MS overall have no respect for standards.
        Socratesfoot
  • App-V or Desktop-V?

    This sounds like App-V technology rather than desktop virtualization. I hope so anyway.
    dlwhite66
  • Maybe in phone, or some pad

    Noway in laptop, or desktop.
    FADS_z
  • Combined with Drawbridge for Windows apps?

    Combined with Drawbridge for Windows apps, this could be very interesting. Microsoft Research have been doing enormous amounts of innovative research for years, but from a commercial perspective, these two projects could be the most important so far.
    WilErz
  • RE: Microsoft's ServiceOS: A potential piece of Microsoft's cloud play, post-Windows 8

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