I know I'm reading too much into this, but let's have a bit of fun in Bill Gates' final week on Microsoft's full-time payroll. He seems to be dropping hints that he's starting to realize that cloud is a better way of doing many of the things Microsoft always used to try and do on discrete servers and clients.
The firmest clue comes as a result of journalist Todd Bishop unearthing an "email rant" that Gates wrote in January 2003 after attempting to download and install the video editing product Windows Movie Maker. Read the email in full for an uplifting sense of schadenfreude at the blow-by-blow account that led Gates to berate Windows product chief Jim Allchin with this withering conclusion:
"So after more than an hour of craziness and making my programs list garbage and being scared and seeing that Microsoft.com is a terrible website I haven't run Moviemaker and I haven't got the plus package. The lack of attention to usability represented by these experiences blows my mind."
More telling, though, is Gates' response to a follow-up question posed by Bishop last week:
"I showed Gates a printout of the e-mail and asked if he ever got Movie Maker to work. Gates noted that Microsoft plans to include Movie Maker as part of Windows Live, so people will get the program when they download that online package."
Effectively, what Gates seems to be saying is, never mind installing the product, run it from the cloud instead. Or, parsing it another way, maybe the message is, only our cloud people (aka the Live team) are capable of doing this right.
Gates also seems to be looking to the cloud to finally fulfill one of his longstanding aspirations, as Mary Jo Foley noted earlier this week, quoting part of an interview Gates did with former PC Magazine Editor Michael Miller:
"(T)here is a famous quest of mine called integrated storage, where you have not just a file system but more of a very flexible object-type database: things like your contacts, calendars, favorites, your photos, your music—how you rate those things are stored in a much more structured environment. And so they can be navigated easily and move between applications very easily. And that hasn’t happened. It will happen as part of the move to cloud storage."
What's your take? Is Gates a secret cloud convert, or have I been drinking too much of my own Kool-Aid again?