Will Windows end up in "the Cloud"?

Yesterday, Steve Ballmer made mention of a project/product called "Windows Cloud", while speaking over in London. I have already seen a few emails from readers come in asking me what I know about it which is absolutely nothing. There have been rumors of a "cloud" based Windows OS for some time but I have never heard anyone speak openly about it. The article notes that it is something that we will see more of in the next month.

I am excited to know what it looks like and how it will make my life simpler, but I am not a big fan of moving all of my personal information and data to servers on the Internet and out of my 100% control. I run my own servers at home and already have anytime, anywhere access to all of my data. I also know that I am backing it up several different ways and that I will always have a copy of the information. Read any online hosting service EULA/Terms of Use statement and they will note that there is limited or no liability if they lose your data. My take on moving things to the cloud is that I need to have 100% assurance that it will always be there, no matter what and always be accessible, no matter what.

To be fair, I can't even say that about my data. I have one pipe coming in (DSL) and it goes offline with some regularity, but I know that it is there when the line comes back up, and most of it isn't so critical that I will get the shakes if I can't access it while out of the house.

I am interested to see what parts of the O/S end up in the cloud. It has to be useful stuff, like data storage, some identity information, and the ability to load and run some applications. The applications need to be useful though. Don't launch calculator with great fanfare when everyone has access to one on their cell phone, desktop or even a REAL calculator on their desk. Don't re-launch MSPaint either. Let the Windows Cloud OS eventually become a web accessible equivalent of what I can do with my laptop now. Think terminal server access via the web. I want a rich, controllable, secure environment that will ALWAYS be there no matter what. I also want 100% guaranteed privacy (short of a court order). I don't want some cloud admin poking around in my data. No one needs to know that I read and collect Gilligan's Island fan fiction.



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