Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 9th Dec 2009 22:12 UTC
Microsoft "In a much anticipated move, Microsoft has created the Server & Cloud Division within the Server & Tools Business that merges the Windows Azure and the Windows Server & Solutions groups. The move shows that Azure isn't just an advanced development project for the software giant, and the company is ready to make money from it. Microsoft says its strategy is to create 'a single organization focused on delivering solutions for customers that span on-premises data centers and the cloud'. Windows Server, Windows Azure, SQL Server, SQL Azure, Visual Studio, and System Center are all part of this strategy that includes both on-premises and cloud solutions. Microsoft notes it is the only company in the industry that can offer its customers the choice to tap into a server platform, a cloud platform, or both."
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RE[3]: Bad news
by Bryan on Thu 10th Dec 2009 15:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Bad news"
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To be blunt, Microsoft isn't competing with their partners so much as they're competing with Google and Amazon. Traditional hosting partners are basically "collateral damage".

Although there are still a lot of issues around privacy and trust that need to be worked out, it's clear that cloud/utility computing is going to be one of the key driving trends over the next few years. Microsoft needs to be a major player in that trend to stay relevant and few, if any, of their partners could achieve the same economies of scale that they'll be able to leverage from Azure. This is too important for Microsoft, and their competitors are too focused, for them to just hope that partners will collectively be able to create solutions that can rival Google.

Partners have proven to be a mixed blessing for Microsoft. One the one hand, they play an important role in popularizing the platform, but on the other they often fail to deliver solutions that are as thought through on an end-to-end basis as compared to other companies that own the whole stack--they tend to focus on just their piece, with little thought to the solution as a whole. Compare the PlaysForSure ecosystem (remember that?) with the iPod or crapware-loaded OEM PCs with the Mac. If you're a partner who's invested considerable time in understanding and delivering Microsoft-based solutions, then you need to see Azure as one of the key opportunities to carry those investments into the future, since the alternative would be clinging to the old way of things while your market is eroded by Google, Salesforce, and their ilk.

Also keep in mind that technology by it's very nature is disruptive over time. They way you do business today is by no means guarateed to work in the future. Look at Google Chrome OS. Regardless of whether that particular product succeeds, it's clear that the management-free paradigm it represents is the future, and as that future becomes more fully realized, the entire field of desktop support, as well as most of the home computer services, will evaporate. If you felt you were entitled to maintain your business model indefinitely, you're in the wrong field. The biggest challenge of participating in a field that's built on the premise of delivering ever greater levels of automation is service-driven models inevitably face shrinking markets over time. Your best bet now is to try to understand the consequences cloud computing will have on the industry and align your business to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise as a consequence.

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