Microsoft’s Cloud Trajectory

Posted on February 7, 2011


As Kevin Jackson points out in this post on Cloud Musings, the U.S. Federal Government CIO Vivek Kundra’s 25 Point IT Management Reform program ranges from a “Cloud-First” policy to consolidating 800 data centers. That’s a lot less data centers buying up servers and applications, and it’s a trend that today’s vendors can’t ignore.

More recently, the Navy stopped its server purchasesNavy Halts Server Buys To Facilitate Consolidation – and the Army stopped their server purchases last year – Army Suspends Server Buys Amid Cloud Plans.

The trend is a shift to cloud computing and it’s happening faster than one might expect. This puts the squeeze on operating system vendors like Microsoft in the process. After all, less server sprawl means less operating systems to install on those servers. So what’s Microsoft to do? Where will Microsoft go with its legacy marketplace control point – the Operating System?
Mobile devices? Microsoft still dominates the desktop, it does not lead, nor will it dominate the smart mobile device marketplace led by Android, iPhone, and Blackberry.

Hypervisors? EMC’s VMWare, and a number of other players in this segment don’t seem like easy prey.

Search? The recent hiybbprqag incident with Microsoft’s Bing allegedly using Google search results doesn’t bode well for the company either.

At least Xbox seems to be holding its own.

That leaves Microsoft with a legacy OS in what is becoming an increasing shrinking market for thick desktop clients, and a changing server market landscape. Will Microsoft’s Azure make up for lost ground in those business areas?

Fortunately for Microsoft, it has a massive multi-billion dollar cash flow to maneuver, and its portfolio of office and business suite applications remains a formidable competitor in the marketplace. Of course, this is a gross oversimplification of a complicated global company with a very complex offerings portfolio.

Though for a company that bet it all on cloud computing almost a year ago, they certainly do not seem to be moving at cloud speed to acquire the pieces necessary to become the undisputed leader of the transition to cloud computing.

Then again, massive behemoths like Microsoft aren’t known for turning on a dime, particularly when billions of dollars are at stake when making such moves. Though one has to wonder what the company will look like in 10 years given the pace of cloud computing and the trajectory they are on today.

-Tune The Future-

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