Not that there was a whole lot of doubt about the subject. But the point that Ballmer was trying to stress is that computing in one form or another will soon be everywhere thanks largely to the advent of system-on-a-chip (SOC) architectures that will allow processors to be embedded in any number of form factors.
At CES, Microsoft announced that a future version of Windows will run on SOC platforms from Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and ARM. Support for the latter architecture will extend the Windows franchise to a new processor family that is already being used by companies such as Qualcomm, Nvidia and Texas Instruments to deliver a variety of new types of computing systems.
How any of these new Windows architectures will manifest themselves remains unclear. But it does appear that Microsoft is concerned that the future of embedded systems will be dominated by variants of Linux such as Google’s Android operating system.
What this does mean is that CTOs need to expand their thinking about when and how to apply IT. For too long most of the thinking about IT has been limited to the office. The future of IT might actually be much larger once we start thinking about all the places SOC platforms could be embedded.
What operating systems those SOCs will be running is still a matter of debate. But the one thing that is for certain is that they will be everywhere.