Microsoft's desktop strategy is slated to take its next step forward later this year, with the release of Office 2007. Gates, now Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect, talked with our sister publication InformationWeek last week and held forth on an array of topics related to corporate data and information-sharing, including a server-based version of Excel, enterprise data search and corporate blogging.Gates says the forthcoming server-based spreadsheet app is "just Excel, but it's Excel running on the server so that whenever the data changes, the server is recomputing it and then all the different Web sites that have parts to point to that, they get to see the latest data in this very visual way." Think spreadsheet-formatted data outputs for one and all, rather than just the person who makes the Excel document and then passes it along.
And what does Gates think of blogging for businesses? His take on blogs in the workplace almost makes them sound like collaborative performance management tools: If you have "blogging, auditing tools, the secure environment, having it fit into your Web application environment so that you can have a discussion connected to these other forms of presentation where you have … quality metrics ... then you want people underneath that to be able to talk about their ideas for that," he says.
See the entire interview here.