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What is “Life without walls?”

(Warning: If you only expect serious technology announcements or serious discussion from this blog, you should stop reading this post right now.)

Oh, you didn't just say that out loud, did you?!

Just an observation…

If you don’t have a wall, you’ve got no place to put a window.  Why do I need windows if I have no walls?  That’s just stupid.

Don’t get me wrong.. I love and sincerely embrace the whole “Windows: Life Without Walls” vision.  I’m just saying maybe Microsoft should re-think the analogy a little. 

How about “Windows.  You need walls for protection, but we let you see outside!”  Or maybe, “Windows. Walls, but with a view!”

And what about doors?  Who equates to the “door” in this whole analogy? 

It’s no secret that when we say “walls”, we really mean Apple. 

“*Gasp!*”

Yes.. I said it.  (chuckle)  They’re the “It’s new and cool and shiny and costs a lot of money for not as much functionality and you have to bend over backwards to make it truly useful” people.  And sure, they’re useful for certain people with certain specific needs.  But the reality is that they cost too much, and don’t let you DO as much. 

Yes, that’s harsh.  Half-assed opinions tend to be harsh.

Maybe Apple is the walls, AND the door.  “Apple: We give you walls.  And locked doors.  The key?  You must get it at iTunes.”

“C’mon Kevin.. you’re going too far with this.”

Perhaps. 

How about this: It could be argued that – just like Windows need Walls – Microsoft needs Apple.  And Google.  Microsoft is at its best when we have good competition.

So we have walls, windows, doors.. my blog can be the floor, but we still need a roof over our heads.  And how do we heat this thing?

“Okay Kev.  Time to be serious.”

Okay.  Look.. I don’t doubt for a second that there are people all over the world – not just at Microsoft and Apple, but everywhere – who are truly striving to create a better world through technology.  Windows and Macs.  Zunes and iPods.  Zune Marketplace and iTunes.  Windows Mobile and iPhones.  Devices that run software that connect to services and to other devices; and to other people.  It’s no longer “Web 2.0”.  I’m calling it “Life 2.0” – a desire to be connected, with devices that not only give us information, but our pictures, music, e-mail.. interaction with other people… it’s what we all want from our gadgets (and from FREE services), no matter where we are.

So I guess really to me, “Life Without Walls” means that “Life 2.0” idea, where we’re removing the barriers to the kind of connected life we all dream of one day having.

Bold Statement Alert:
There’s just no question in my mind that Microsoft is doing it better. 

“That really is a pretty bold statement.  You really think Microsoft is doing it better in ALL areas?”

Well.. okay, honestly, no.  I don’t.  At least not yet.  For example, I’m looking forward to the day when a Windows Mobile-driven device also has the graphics processing power that the iPhone has.  I’d really love to see a ZunePhone, or whatever you want to call it.. not because “hey, it’s a Zune, AND it’s a phone!”, but rather, I’d personally love to see Microsoft build hardware and have total control of the device from start-to-finish, so the software and hardware are completely optimized and proprietary; but with the same upgradeability that Zunes and XBOXs have had.)  Do I think those devices are coming?

“Do you?”

I have no idea.  They don’t tell me those things until they’re just about ready to announce them publically.  I sure hope they are.  But at the very least, you can bet that someday there will be a multi-touch, graphically stunning Windows Mobile phone.  One that has a decent browser, even.  (sigh)  Whether we continue to be the software that device makers choose to drive their ever-more-powerful gadgets, or we decide to enter the world of building devices, I believe that nobody is doing it better.

So.. to rephrase my earlier bold statement:
There is no question in my mind that Microsoft is the company best positioned to deliver Life 2.0.  No barriers.  No walls.  No limits.