Roger McNamee might think that we are in the midst of the revolution, but according to Microsoft Chief Strategy and Research Officer Craig Mundie, the race to become the dominant technology company of the digital age hasn’t really even begun yet. Mundie, whom I interviewed yesterday in Tucson, Arizona at Techonomy, believes that the last ten years have actually been a prelude to a technological contest that is still in its warm-up stage. And, of course, Mundie believes that Microsoft is the odds-on favorite to win this race once it actually gets going.
“It’s a decathlon”, Mundie described today’s grand contest to make computers into sensory machines that mirror our speech and our sight. And given Microsoft’s undoubted strength right across the technological board – from PC’s to tablets to cloud servers to software services to cars – Mundie says, his company is the only one positioned to be able to compete in every sphere of what he calls this “profound revolution.”
The winner of the Olympic decathlon is often called “the world’s greatest athlete”. Whatever else one might say about Mundie and Microsoft, you can’t fault their ambition. But is Mundie – who, after Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates, is as influential as anyone at Microsoft – correct? Could the old war horse from Redmond still surprise the world by retaining/regaining its title as the world’s greatest technology company?