デスノートを書く連中を毎回打ち負かしてきた--クレイグ・マンディ最高研究戦略責任者《特集マイクロソフト》


We've Beaten Everyone Who compete us---Craig Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer

Microsoft has announced "Windows Azure" as its own cloud computing strategy to combat Google and others, but it is already steadily conducting research aimed at the more distant future. Microsoft's Chief Strategy and Research Officer Craig Mundie, who has shouldered part of Bill Gates' responsibilities at the company, spoke to Weekly Toyo Keizai about where Microsoft's vision for the future of computing will take the world.


Q: Exactly what kind of future is Microsoft envisaging for computing?

A: First, look right in front of you. It was two killer applications - email and browser - that propelled the explosive spread of the Internet. It was because of what these two apps enabled that people began to think about adding programming capabilities to the component side of the Internet.
With next generation applications, in addition to the graphical user interface (GUI), we'll no doubt natural language and other natural user interfaces, that we use in everyday lives, being enabled. The issue here is how exactly we deliver the next generation of applications. It'll be tough to do so just over the Internet, and client-side evolution will be essential. At the moment Web applications and client software are being developed separately, but in the future, they need to become a combined platform.

So PCs will go on evolving?

The word "client" doesn't refer just to PCs. A whole ecosystem including mobile phones, games, TVs and so on is coming together, and we need to think about designing new architecture that caters to all such aspects.
Creating a new client environment is the key to taking computing to the next level. In other words, the notion that all the computing will be done in the cloud, and so the only thing clients need to be able to do is display the result is mistaken. Everything has to evolve together, and Microsoft is the only company investing resources to drive that evolution.
"Windows Azure" is a stepping stone to such a future. Azure will enable people to offer programmable Web services or infrastructure services as standalone systems.

But nowadays people can also choose not to use Microsoft.

A lot of people have up to now tried to take us on and write our name on a 'death note'. Look back over our history, and you'll see that every few years, we face some exciting new company. I think people underestimate our competitiveness and ability to respond to such newcomers.
Microsoft has made a long-term commitment to research and is conducting R&D on a massive scale. There are three reasons we invest so much in research. The first is to make constant improvements to our products. If we're constantly coming out with new stuff, no matter how many new products our rivals come out with, those products are designed to compete only with older versions of our products. The second reason is to constantly shake up the market - in a good sense - with new inventions. A recent example is healthcare. We're conducting all sorts of research aimed at supporting human health and healthcare systems, and some people say that this research is already at a stage at which it can bring about a change in the way things are done in the industry. The third reason we spend on research is to boost our responsiveness. If we make good use of our research scope and people, we can respond promptly to emerging needs.
In 3-5 years from now, microprocessors will shift from single core and multi core to a new generation of manycore processors. And as that happens, the need will of course emerge for programming architecture. Microsoft is already supporting this change and leading efforts to commercialize many core. Windows 7 is an OS created to prepare the way for manycore processing.

OK, let's say you've made the shift to the next generation of computing. How will you earn revenue?

Our future business model will be more service-oriented. However this is a new business opportunity that will be added to our existing business. In other words, we'll come to be in a position to offer services to businesses who aren't using Microsoft client products.

In five years' time, will Microsoft be a service company hosting vast numbers of corporate systems in huge data centers?

We already have a great many data centers. We've added a new data center on average every six to twelve months. Google is said to be the rising force in the Internet world, but Microsoft launched MSN 15 years ago, and has been delivering Web services through data centers ever since. Nothing could be more natural for us than to expand into search and advertising, and we've increased our data center capacity to cater to such possibilities. As such, we'll probably be running many more data centers five years down the road.

You're pursuing partnerships with universities worldwide.

Microsoft has the world's largest computer science operation, and because of that, I can meet with the most outstanding people wherever I go throughout the world. I'm almost like a diplomat, and in fact The Economist has called me Microsoft's Secretary of State. (laughs)
Microsoft is a rare company that offers rare opportunities to its employees, and we're also tackling social issues throughout the world, such as health, education and poverty. IT can be a very potent tool for solving such problems. I'm very happy that even as I put on years, I'm able to tackle so many different issues through Microsoft.

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三菱重工と日立 「統合」破談から<br>10年 製造立国の岐路

10年前に統合構想が破談になった三菱重工業と日立製作所。その後両社は対照的な道を歩み、2009年に伯仲していた時価総額は今や日立が大きく上回っています。本特集では明暗が分かれた三菱重工と日立を主軸に、製造立国・日本の生きる道を探りました。

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