The current speaker is Tim O'Reilly. Tim is talking about the shifting paradigms in the computing industry, from hardware to software, and now from software to customer data and relationships. I'm capturing bits and pieces and blogging it below.
So far, his talk has been expansive, and considered the commoditzation of PC hardware and software, the trends in web-based applications, and the "innovative" tools being used to provide information to people. Tim had an interesting comparison between Microsoft Office and Google, and stated that a current version of MS Office will still work in 10 years if you install it today, but if you take the people out of the equation at Google that the site will degrade over time.
For the most part, the talk isn't resonating with me. I think that Tim fails to consider how users are going to continue to manage their data and applications, and while the network is going to continue to be very important, there is always going to be a place for computing-assisted activities where the network isn't a significant factor. Network collaboration and social collaboration around technology doesn't mean that the current tools will lose their relevance in my opinion.
According to Tim, ASP.NET was created by two developers in Microsoft that had time between projects and that from there the ideas behind their work spread within Microsoft and reached a critical mass with BillG buying into their ideas and pushing it forward as a product initiative. I have never heard this, and would love to get some more details on this story if anyone knows about it.
Tim is talking about Robert Scoble's posts on Google, and how the community is contributing to the content in Google and increasing the value of Google as a product/service. To quote Tim, "all of using the web are contributing to Google." Google and Amazon are also being cited as interesting business models of the future based in that the customer interaction contributes to the overall value of the product and service in a significant way.
Tim sees the development of an "Internet operating system", where small pieces of software are aggregated to form the user experience that suits the needs of computing users. A loosely coupled user environment made up of independent components of software will enable users to customize their experience and to have a significant amount of functionality in software without using a monolithic operating system. Tim quotes Linus Torvalds, saying that the work that has been done in Linux would not have been possible in Windows due to the architecture. I agree that the architecture of Unix/Linux and Windows are fundamentally different, but I'm not sure that means that Linux is inherently better. Tim's comment implies that Linux is a better architecture due to granularity of control and ability to customize the OS.
Essentially, Tim equates customer interaction and contribution to the development of products as an "Open Source" model. A services-based software economy and technology shift is coming, and Tim proclaims that this is the "true Internet era." While I don't think all of Tim's ideas make sense, he is very knowledgeable about the industry and is an interesting and provacative speaker. A thought provoking and enjoyable session to be sure.