HailStorm -- nice business plan!

From: Rohit Khare (Rohit@KnowNow.com)
Date: Mon Mar 19 2001 - 10:47:19 PST

[Gee, I wonder if anyone forwarded Bill the winners from last May's
Garage.com National Student Business Plan competition? ;-) ... more
to say for ourselves soon -- Rohit]

Author: Robert Scoble
Posted: 3/19/2001; 12:16:21 AM
Topic: hailstorm
Msg #: 171 (top msg in thread)
Prev/Next: 170/172
Reads: 450

If you want to see what other people are saying (or doing) about
Hailstorm, see the Hailstorm Directory I'm keeping up. (There are
already quite a few articles to visit, with a bunch expected later

Microsoft's Official HailStorm Whitepaper

So, what is Microsoft's HailStorm?

This is how Microsoft defined HailStorm to the developers on March 15:

HailStorm connects Internet services, applications and devices -- and
transforms them into a user's personal network -- on their behalf,
with their permission.

There are several pieces to the HailStorm puzzle:

1. A new MSN Messenger. MSN Messenger is being recreated to
serve as the hub through which information for a user flows.

2. A revamped set of Passport services. Web Service providers
and individuals alike will be using a person (as identified by a
Passport) as a destination for Notifications.

3. API's (er, services). These include "myInbox; myContacts;
myLocation; myCalendar; myDocuments."

1. MyInbox -- Provides a nice abstraction of existing email
systems. From the client programmer's side the folders, the email
message metadata, and email messages themselves, are all represented
as XML. Behind the myInbox service MS will have adaptors which take
data from mail servers, such as Exchange, Hotmail, and POP3 --
storing it in the myInBox as XML (note: apparently this data will be
stored on the MS machines which provide the service -- a fact which
will become significant in the big picture).

2. MyContacts -- Basically just a buddy list -- made accessible
to any application.

3. MyLocation -- A location may contain two major pieces of
information, an electronic location, and a physical location.
Electronic locations are things like Desktop, Laptop, PDA, Cell
Phone. Physical locations are like where you live, or where you are
at the moment as determined by some device (such as your cell phone)
which can provide your physical location.

4. MyCalendar -- A calendar you can share with contacts.

5. MyDocuments -- This is where things get really interesting.
MS says that they're planning on providing mass storage on the Web
for hundreds of millions of users. That's a pretty amazing idea.
Microsoft talks a lot about this in Hailstorm previews: about how
only the user would be able to access his data, no one else.
Microsoft also claims that this service will be redundant and backed
up. Data would be duplicated in multiple locations so that network
outages wouldn't be such a problem. A person using MS's myDocuments
may choose to share files with other users. These are files on the
Internet. But, Peer-to-Peer sharing will be provided too.

4. Transport layers. Services will be exposed as SOAP methods
and the data transfered will be XML -- without exception.

5. Data center servers on the Web that'll hold these services.

6. A business plan. Why is MS providing all these services? To
make money, of course. Some things will be free, others will cost
money to subscribe to.

7. A partnership with companies like Ebay, American Express, and
FedEx, among others.

8. Notification and filtering system. You don't want to get tons
of instant messages every few minutes, do you? But, you do want to be
notified when things of interest to YOU happen.

Over the next few days you'll hear and see all about each of these items.

It'll be fun to discuss with you all what HailStorm means. I'm still
wrapping my brain around it, and I'm sure with today's announcements
there'll be lots more coming.

Robert Scoble

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