Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

What's Up at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference (Hint: Cloudy With a Chance of Amazon Pain)

Next week in Los Angeles, Microsoft will kick off its Professional Developers Conference, a place where the software giant likes to unveil all kinds of news in a big launchtastic flourish.

For all the noise, it’s worth paying attention, because Monday’s outlook will be cloudy, as in cloud computing.

The day will include a speech from Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect, Ray Ozzie (pictured here), and others on, among other topics, its cloud infrastructure service initiatives–designed to match aggressive efforts from Amazon (AMZN) in the space.

There will also be a demo of Windows 7, which will hopefully put an end to the long Vista nightmare when it is eventually released. (To be ahead of the curve, see a video below of Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer and founder Bill Gates showing Windows 7 off at our sixth D: All Things Digital conference in May.)

In all, a Windows geekfest!

Microsoft (MSFT) execs will probably be in a good mood given the decent earnings results the company announced earlier this week for the third quarter. Revenue was up nine percent to $15 billion, even though net profits only increased 1.9 percent to $4.37 billion.

Still, that was a pretty good performance in a down economy, due to strength in Microsoft’s powerful Windows and Office franchises. And despite–as usual–the weakness of its online division.

While the revenue for its MSN, search and advertising network grew to $770 million, or up 15 percent in the quarter, operating losses doubled to $480 million from $267 in the same period a year ago. Search grew more than display advertising, a forward outlook Microsoft that maintained.

And still no digital chief, long promised by Ballmer, in sight either. Sources said that head, who will lead the unit, has still not been selected. (BoomTown is officially beginning to feel sorry for longtime leading internal candidate Brian McAndrews.)

While PDC has never been an online-focused event–this is for the big-dog businesses of Microsoft–it will still be interesting that the event will focus on continued movement toward the cloud.

It’s an inevitable–though decidedly dicey–journey for the software-dependent behemoth. So, the continued transformation should be interesting to watch.

Here is the Windows 7 demo from D6:


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