Microsoft had always taken an ad-hoc approach to charting the future of technology and its place in it, relying heavily on the insights of Bill Gates and his legendary "think weeks."
With the twilight of Gates' career at the company approaching and new technical and strategic leaders Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie preparing to fill his role, Microsoft executives decided to make this prognosticating more formal.
"This year we, for the first time, said 'Let's not make this ad hoc,' " Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer told a small audience of tech-industry tastemakers in April.
So company leaders recorded their best guesses about "the things that are going to change technology over the next five to 10 years [and] what we can do to lead those trends," Ballmer said. It was an attempt, he said, to do what Gates has done "in his head" and bring more people into the act.
Bill Gates, Microsoft, Ray Ozzie, Craig Mundie