Simpler and More Reliable
So what will the less localised OS actually mean? Microsoft says the shift will bring about a ‘cleaner' system. In general, the trend toward web-based applications could help cut down on the hassles surrounding updates and program maintenance.
"The evolution of the product becomes more seamless and doesn't require as much thought," King points out.
Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie suggested during his PDC keynote address that relying on Azure rather than a PC's OS would create a more stable platform. With Windows Azure, he says, there is no single point of failure - so if one computer goes down, all the applications and data won't go with it.
Word of Caution
On the flipside, as more applications move toward the web, the already swirling concerns regarding data use become more and more prevalent. You can access information from anywhere - but so, in theory, can anyone else.
"As the online application world develops, we could see some interesting effects around security and privacy," King says. "How that all shakes out over time is going to be very interesting."
Ultimately, though, if developers do their jobs well, casual users may not even notice the difference.
"At the end of the day, consumers want the service, they want the application. Where it resides - whether it resides on their individual client, or resides online, or resides on a server someplace - doesn't really matter to them," King said.
Specific details about Windows 7 are expected to be revealed Tuesday. No release date or pricing information has yet been discussed for Azure.