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Interview: S. “Soma” Somasegar--Corporate Vice President, Developer Division, Microsoft – Part 3

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In Part 1 (seen here on Tuesday April 4th), we begin our Q&A with Soma and profile his background. Soma also discusses his main current challenges and how he is solving them. In Part 2 (seen here on Wednesday April 5th), we examine Soma's views on the biggest issues facing the IT industry and business.

Here's Part 3 of the Q&A series with Soma where Soma discusses future trends, AJAX/ATLAS, and his top recommended resources for IT professionals.

I encourage you to make comments here or send me an e-mail at sibaraki@cips.ca.

Discussion Part 3:

Q: Provide your five predictions of future trends, their implications and business opportunities?

A: Trend 1) Computer Science and Medical Sciences are the two fields that I expect to see a rapid rate of innovation in the coming decades.

Trend 2) With the proliferation of mobile phones, in several parts of the world the mobile phone is the first computing device that people use. In spite of this and the proliferation of other kinds of devices, I expect the PC to be at the center of the digital devices world.

Trend 3) The US economy will continue to grow at a healthy pace for the next 20-30 years and will remain the number one economy. China and India will emerge as the next two world economies in the information world.

Trend 4) User Experience will be more and more a key differentiator. Features will become a commodity - example, all cars will come standard with a GPS, DVD system, anti-locking brakes, etc. but the ones that make it fun, easy and engaging to buy, use and service the car will win.

Trend 5) Global partnerships will continue to increase. Most, if not all, companies will have global partners, suppliers and customers.

Q: For the future, which specific new internet technologies do you find will have the greatest impact on history?

A: We're seeing a great deal of excitement around the new generation of technologies that are driving the need for better user experience, particularly in the Web application space but also in client-side applications as well. AJAX is one of the main technologies the industry is getting behind, and it's a great style of development, but it's not necessarily easy. So you're seeing a great deal of folks thinking about the tools developers can use to harness the power of AJAX. Atlas is one of the tools we're working on and we're getting great feedback from the community. We recently made available a "go live" license for Atlas that helps customers put their beta projects using Atlas into production.

In a related area, I'm really excited about the platform and tooling components that are helping to bridge the gap between software developers and creative design professionals. Ensuring these communities can work together effectively will be paramount to ensuring that the next generation of applications achieves the high level of user experience. And user experience is a key need for customers in order to generate higher levels of customer satisfaction and retention. Windows Presentation Foundation and the Expression family of tools is what Microsoft offers to developers and creative design professionals in this area, and we're really excited about them and the reaction they've received this far from the community.

Q: Which are your top six recommended resources?

A: 1) Naturally I think MSDN and the MSDN Product Feedback Center are great resources for developers. I particularly am really excited about the MSDN Product Feedback Center because it tells me what customers think about our products in real time and it's an important part of our effort to be more transparent with our customers as we build the products that are right for them.

2) Blogs - particularly blogs.msdn.com

3) Internet Search Engines - MSN Search, Google, Yahoo

4) Personal network of smart people and colleagues

5) Forums.microsoft.com

6) Books - check out amazon.com

Q: Now for some lighter questions: What is your favorite passion?

A) Apart from "using and enhancing personal computing technology", it is watching movies and reading books.

Q: What is your favorite gadget?

A) My Smart Phone - for listening to music, getting directions, checking mail and sending SMS.

Q: We will continue to watch your work and considerable contributions with interest. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. We wish you continued success for the future.

A: Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you.

___________________________

This ends the Q&A series with Soma and I invite you to make your suggestions and comments here.

Cheers,
Stephen Ibaraki

Comments
  • That's a list I would agree with and it's good to see MS heading in the right direction.  The "user experience" is a focus now too!  We are finding compliance is a real problem. Are there any reference documents that can help us?

  • Thomas, there is movement towards increasing automation and features of the past become standardized in the present. This puts the focus on the user experience as you indicated. Microsoft is staying ahead and Somasegar provides a roadmap to follow for the present and the future.

    There have been several blogs on compliance – do a keyword search on “compliance” in the Search box – see left panel. Microsoft has a useful paper from their internal IT group that I recommend you read:
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/itsolutions/msit/operations/regcompliance.mspx

    I just finished an interview on compliance which should be appearing in the future where I also give some best practices.

    Cheers,
    Stephen Ibaraki

  • I was recently interviewed by the Canadian IT Manager forum on what I thought were some of our current...

  • I just did a more recent blog on compliance. There's a new paper out that provides a roadmap from a developer perspective that you will find useful. Here's the link to the blog:
    http://blogs.technet.com/cdnitmanagers/archive/2006/04/28/426686.aspx

    Cheers,
    Stephen Ibaraki, I.S.P.

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