Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, left, talks with Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, himself a former Microsoft executive, at the Microsoft Alumni Network’s annual Reunion with a Purpose event on the Microsoft campus today. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)
Will Microsoft’s quantum computing technology be a hardware division unto itself, like Xbox, or something that the company offers to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), like its traditional Windows business for PCs?
“It’s not OEM-ready yet,” joked Satya Nadella, as the crowd laughed at his significant understatement in response to the question from a former Microsoft employee. Quantum computing — which uses atoms and molecules for processing and memory to exponentially boost computing power — is still largely theoretical, but Microsoft has a high-powered team pursuing breakthroughs in the field.
“We’re still in the early stages,” Nadella said. “We have taken a very different approach. Even in the next year there will be a couple of gimmicks that will happen.” But those short term gimmicks are “not building a general purpose quantum computer,” he said. “We have taken an approach saying, look, let’s go for the general-purpose quantum computer, because that’s the prize, as opposed to worrying about the short term.”
GeekWire was there as Nadella and Starbucks …read more