Bill Gates’ keynote impressions

In semi-chronological order, here are my notes from Bill’s keynote:

  • The “It’s what you bring to life” statement in the opening video before Mr. Gates took the stage made an impression on me for some reason.
  • I thought it a bit ironic that blogging is encouraged here and yet the public address person told us all to turn off our laptops.
  • Lifestyle … “workstyle”
  • Bill’s pun about software being as reliable as electricity was good-humored given yesterday’s blackout in downtown LA due to crossed wires.
  • According to Mr. Gates, software is the great enabler and it’s being underestimated in this capacity.
  • The college recruitment video was funny. “Cloberate” will now replace “collaborate” in business speak. :-)
  • 2005 marks the year where more broadband users exist than dial-up users.
  • Tools make platform advances reasonable (approachable, consumable, worth the investment).
  • Server-service symmetry is about providing a continuity of features and functions while allowing customer choice where hosting, admin, etc. is concerned (i.e. server – customer-run on premise, service – vendor-run off site).
  • Office is still promoted as Microsoft’s exemplar application (e.g. where smart clients are concerned).
  • The most compelling element didn’t involve Mr. Gates. It came when the reigns were turned over to Chris Capossela in order to demo Windows Vista and Office “12.”
  • Vista took the demo stage first. The “Clarity” emphasis was clearly demonstrated via the new “Flip Bar” (i.e. refactored Alt+Tab UE), the pervasive “Quick Search Bar” and “Virtual Folders.” Virtual Folders as simply XML documents is compelling to ISVs like mine who need to deploy specific views (and metadata painting portals) to their users. The Windows Sidebar reminds me of Google Desktop Search 2’s Sidebar, Apple’s (Tiger) Dashboard and Yahoo!’s Konfabulator acquisition. The fact that it’s a platform in its own right (along with Sideshow) is interesting (e.g. building “gadgets” for EMC | Documentum). BetaNews reports on gadgets, too. The way that IE7 takes tabbed browsing to the next level (i.e. “Quick Tabs”) reminds me of Apple’s (Tiger) Exposé. The fact that Vista has a built-in RSS store (i.e. yet another platform for development) is very compelling. It will be important to see whether or not annotations above feeds will be fully portable and open, too.
  • Office “12” finished the demo (i.e. Excel then PowerPoint then Word then SharePoint and finally Outlook). With the new user experience (i.e. in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook (shell) and Access only), “every user becomes a power user”–because he can more easily discover the full potential the application provides. The “pick before you click” philosophy in the suite is compelling (i.e. new galleries and hover-based preview functionality). When the WSS3 Recycle Bin was demo’ed, it received applause. The “pitchbook” application demonstrating deep integration between PowerPoint and SharePoint was interesting, especially the ability to mark individual slides in the pitch book for automatic synchronization by SharePoint. The “To-Do Bar,” RSS integration and InfoPath integration in Outlook look nice and feel highly usable.
  • The same indexer, the same search engine will be shared across MSN Search, Desktop Search (Vista) and Outlook Search.
  • On Vista, the Office “12” open dialog (and the other common dialogs?) is the Vista open dialog.

While waiting for David Folk et al to show up for coffee, I noticed that there are a low number of women again at PDC (although it does seem like the ratio is growing) and there are a large number of guys that lack basic fashion sense (e.g. the muted, monochromatic, washed-out look seems to be accidentally in style around the halls).