Pet Peeve

Ok, My pet peeve is Microsoft’s repeated abuse of terminology.  Today, I’m annoyed with their use of the word “cloud”, because Microsoft just doesn’t get it… again.

This is how Wikipedia explains cloud computing:

Cloud computing is computation, software, data access, and storage services that do not require end-user knowledge of the physical location and configuration of the system that delivers the services.

Microsoft, it seems, doesn’t bother to explain what cloud computing is despite having a full web site, packed with white papers and and video clips, devoted to it.   However, the example they use in their commercial is using the cloud to get a specific file from your computer at home – instead of having someone named Claude go to your house to get it for you.

How on earth is that an example of cloud computing? The file is in a defined location, and you’d better damn well know where your own computer is if Claude is going to bring it to you… I think Microsoft has just reinvented ssh/scp (available since 1995) or rlogin (available since 1986) and decided to call it “the cloud.”

It’s hardly the first time Microsoft has grossly misused terms for their own marketing purposes (eg. “I’m a PC” or “Open XML”), so you think I’d be used to it by now. Unfortunately, it still grates on my nerves every time.

Just in case you think I’m the first to complain about this (I’m not), here are a few others – and one possible reason why.

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