Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lost in a Cloud of Words

Welcome to the wordcloud. I just got a press release from Microsoft about their big partner conference in Washington, D.C. People from all over the world have gathered there to "seize new opportunities in the cloud" and help consumers "tap into the cloud through all the screens in their lives."

Lost in translation? No, Microsoft is not Volkswagen having fun with words like fahrvergnügen or Ikea being cute with Swedish names. Microsoft is from Redmond, WA.

"WASHINGTON — July 13, 2010 — Today at the annual Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, Jon Roskill, Microsoft Corp.’s new channel chief, addressed the Microsoft partner community for the first time, unveiling business strategies and resources to help partners of all types seize new opportunities in the cloud. The company also detailed new products and services to help consumers tap into the cloud through all the screens in their lives — from the largest screen in the living room to the smallest screen in one’s pocket."
I know what they mean, but isn't there a fundamental communication disconnect here?

The digital era has given us many new words, and a whole new way to view the world. We have learned to understand expressions like the world wide web, and reinterpret others, like computer (which used to be a person who calculates) and surfing (no board needed these days). I have no problem with that, but then we have the Globalyst stuff. No, it's not something from Harry Potter. It was a new PC-series launched by AT&T in 1994 after the company had bought NCR and renamed it Global Information Services. I remember the press conference when the Globalyst PC was introduced, featuring a communications program called Vistium. I asked one of the marketing guys about the weird name. He shook his head and said that all the good names were already taken.

Fast forward to July 2010:
“The industry is at an inflection point....and we are committed to helping our partners adapt and find the right cloud opportunities....,” said Jon Roskill.
Well, the cloud makes sense as a concept and is okay on a powerpoint slide, but beyond that I'd like my clouds in the sky. Leave it to the true believers to seek opportunities in the cloud.

Hans Sandberg

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