Microsoft has an advantage with enterprises, he said. "Eighty-six percent of all enterprises, all companies of any size, even midsize and up run Active Directory. That means their users are provisioning in Active Directory," said Ozzie. "It's one button for us to federate those to the cloud."
Cloud computing presents a "huge revenue opportunity," Ozzie said, although the margins on services are not as high as the margins on packaged software.
Microsoft sees three classes of devices being connected to the cloud: PC, phone, and TV.
While endorsing the proliferation of netbooks, Ozzie said, "The reality is, I don't know what a netbook is. ...A netbook is evolving into an expensive application a PC. It's a laptop, he said." Microsoft can sell OSes and applications to netbook users, said Ozzie, but Microsoft will put Windows on netbooks using Intel x86-based processors not ARM systems, Ozzie acknowledged.
Asked if Microsoft planned to support HTML 5 on Internet Explorer, Ozzie said that although he had no announcements to make, the company is committed to offering a world-class browser. "I think you can expect us to do the right thing," he said. Other browser makers such as Mozilla pledge support for HTML 5, which expands video capabilities.
In other remarks, Ozzie said that although Gates is not physically at the company, he does write and calls infrequently on things he is interested in. "He knows that he's not accountable for our success anymore, therefore he knows not to give orders or directives or influence things that would blow the accountability of being able to deliver something."
Gates brought a culture of crisis to Microsoft, Ozzie said, pervaded by fears that any day now, two guys in a garage will take down the company.
Read more about cloud computing in InfoWorld's Cloud Computing Channel.