Microsoft’s Qi Lu Talks Future of the Web: Look Out, Facebook, Groupon, Apple, and (Oh Yeah) Google

5/17/11Follow @gthuang

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lifts other parts—for example, the ability to run experiments. To try a new [user interface]—new font colors or a different way of rendering the text—how do you design that experiment, instrument the systems, and get the analytics so you can quickly validate or falsify the hypothesis? Once you have strong infrastructure and develop enabling capabilities, over a period of time you will have the foundation of lifting the rate of heartbeat in the key areas. That’s important.

X: How should we think about Microsoft’s evolving online efforts relative to its overall business strategy? If online is the company’s future, where do you stand now, and where are you heading?

QL: I’ll pick one key pivot which is our overarching focus: Preparing a differentiated consumer experience across Microsoft’s key product lines. For Microsoft to go forward, our fundamental focus is on bringing in our company’s assets and driving innovations across our company’s product lines. By combining all those experiences in a coherent, integrated manner, we offer differentiated and very compelling experiences to our users.

For example, on Windows Phone, Bing is one of the key anchor services. There are so many consumer scenarios [that] can be unlocked by having integrated experiences. Think about Bing as the engine that understands what’s in the digital cloud. It can make sense of all the entities computationally that are in the cloud—people, places, things, all the locations, all the businesses, all the organizations, all the products, all the services, all the music, all the events. You can imagine the future of the phone experience. Any time you press a button on your phone or swipe a visual control module on your phone, that in many ways is “search.” Imagine you’re listening to a piece of music. We look into the cloud to say, do we have other information about that particular song, about this band, will they be in town for a performance? If so, are there tickets available on discount?

You can imagine the experience is all live. Anything you are conducting in terms of consuming content or using services on a mobile handset—it’s all seamlessly connected to what’s in the digital cloud. We use computational intelligence that Bing is producing to enrich the experience. That’s just one of many areas that we are focusing our innovations using the consumer-facing cloud services, so that our company’s other products—whether it’s phone, TV, or future generation PC or tablet—can be very differentiated and very compelling. That’s our fundamental focus in terms of innovations.

X: How do you sum up the current status of Bing vs. Google in search?

QL: We are pleased with our progress so far. We’ve been making improvements to … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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