Microsoft has had its run-ins with the cloud before, but if CEO Steve Ballmer is being serious (and we're guessing he is), the company is about to get even more connected. Speaking with computer science students this week at the University of Washington, Ballmer was quoted as saying that "a year from now... 90 percent [of Microsoft employees would be working in the cloud]." He went on to say that the cloud base "is the bet, if you will, for our company," and he noted that it'll "create opportunities for all the folks in [the] room to do important research and build important projects." It's not like any of this is an epiphany, though; we've already seen a shift to Google Documents given the ability to access it from any web-connected computer, and with the proliferation of broadband on the up and up, it's only a matter of time before it's more convenient to open a web app than to wait for your taskbar to stop bouncing. In related news, Google Europe boss John Herlihy has essentially mirrored those thoughts, calling the desktop an item that will be "irrelevant" in three years. Why? Largely because most everything you'll need a tower for will be available via a mobile or the web, but we all know that sect of hardcore gamers will keep the beige boxes rolling for at least another score.