Ballmer Says the Future is in the Clouds

March 10, 2011
Microsoft chief executive touts cloud computing as the future of business communications.

HOUSTON - Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer spoke enthusiastically about cloud computing, calling it the most important technological shift of today during his keynote address at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston March 9.

Cloud computing will enable businesses to communicate and process information in a virtual world without physical interaction with a computer, Ballmer said.

The technology is already available in the consumer market through gaming devices, such as Microsoft's XBox 360 Kinect and Nintendo Wii. Of course, Ballmer used a demonstration of Microsoft's XBox to show how players can communicate with each other and their virtual worlds through simple hand-motion commands.

Microsoft plans to bring the same type of technology to business environments in the near future through personal computers and phones, according to Ballmer.

Microsoft has worked with a few manufacturers to implement cloud-computing technology into industrial applications. The company developed a system for oil field services company Baker Hughes Inc. to significantly reduce the time it takes to produce sophisticated simulations, Ballmer said. Microsoft also worked with Ford Motor Co. on its Sync hands-free communications technology.

But cloud computing still must overcome obstacles for widespread use in more complex business operations that move beyond a company's four walls. That's because businesses are hesitant to such technology until it can be proven that its secure and reliable, Ballmer said.

See Also CERAWeek Stories
Exelon CEO Touts Natural Gas as Top Clean-Energy Option

Saudis Key to Securing Oil During Unrest

Hess Calls for Higher Mileage Standards, More Exploration Incentives

BP Refines Post-Spill Drilling Strategy

BP Spill Commission Leader Asks for Oil Safety Organization

Debt Threatens Economic Recovery

About the Author

Jonathan Katz | Former Managing Editor

Former Managing Editor Jon Katz covered leadership and strategy, tackling subjects such as lean manufacturing leadership, strategy development and deployment, corporate culture, corporate social responsibility, and growth strategies. As well, he provided news and analysis of successful companies in the chemical and energy industries, including oil and gas, renewable and alternative.

Jon worked as an intern for IndustryWeek before serving as a reporter for The Morning Journal and then as an associate editor for Penton Media’s Supply Chain Technology News.

Jon received his bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Kent State University and is a die-hard Cleveland sports fan.

Sponsored Recommendations

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of IndustryWeek, create an account today!