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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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March 5, 2008 9:46 AM

Mix: Microsoft's Ray Ozzie says Web is the hub and it runs on advertising

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

LAS VEGAS -- Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's chief software architect, giving a much anticipated keynote speech at the company's Mix conference this morning, described the Web as a hub for all of people's increasingly fragmented digital activities.

The Web is becoming the center of our social experiences and our technology experiences. It will "ultimately impact everything we do," he said and eventually, actions such as linking, sharing, tagging content on the Web will become as familiar as file, edit and view on the PC.

He got the Y-word out of the way early in his presentation, a Web cast of which is available here.

"And then there's Yahoo," he said, rubbing his hands together. "Although I can't talk much about our proposed offer to buy Yahoo, I can say it's already added some interesting twists to what promises to be an exciting year on tap."

Not much there. Later, he said the acquisition is justified by the importance of advertising as the economic model that enables the Web-as-hub future.

"Advertising is going to continue to be the primary way that we and you monetize services and apps on the Web," Ozzie said.

He said he hoped the importance of advertising, and Yahoo's creative people and Web properties, makes clear the reasons Microsoft wants to buy the company.

The big news here is a beta of Internet Explorer 8, the next version of the world's most-used Web browser. Microsoft is highlighting features to please the audience of Web developers, but one thing users will likely appreciate is its ability to properly render Web pages, some of which appear normally in competitors Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari, but not in Internet Explorer 7.

Microsoft is also rolling out a beta of the next version of its online video and animation platform, Silverlight 2. The company said the browser plug-in is being downloaded more than 1.5 million times a day. (Update: Details of this and other announcements from today are summarized in this Microsoft release.)

An interesting local side note: Microsoft typically hires an entertainer to fill the time before a big keynote presentation begins. Today, they hired some local Northwest talent: Vince Mira is a Tacoma teenager who sounds for all the world like Johnny Cash. He played a short set here and it was jaw-dropping to hear him live.

Update, 1 p.m.: About one in three audience members had a laptop open during the keynote, so there's no shortage of reaction on the Web today. Here's some coverage from Mary Jo Foley, TechCrunch and InfoWorld.

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