Get ready for ‘Windows Cloud’

Microsoft could soon announce a new riposte to Google’s growing array of web applications. Speaking at a conference in London, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said his company will unveil something he calls “Windows Cloud” within a month. As ComputerWorld reports, Ballmer said this product will be an “operating system . . . intended for developers writing cloud-computing applications.”

Ballmer remained tight-lipped, but he did give reporters a few other nuggets of information: Windows Cloud is separate from Windows 7, and Microsoft “doesn’t envision products such as the Office productivity suite moving entirely off desktop PCs and onto the Internet.” Nonetheless, Redmond is working on a web app that will let people do “light editing” of Office documents.

The Microsoft CEO stopped there and told attendees, “That’s all I can say on that . . . Otherwise, we have no drum-roll announcement in a month.” If we had to guess, we’d say the initiative could involve some sort of web-app framework and platform for third-party developers. Microsoft could also use the opportunity to take some of the current Windows Live apps (like Windows Live Photo Gallery) online a la Google Picasa.

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