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Nov 2, 2008

Microsoft Live, Office, Dynamics, Explorer, SQL Server, Live Mesh, dotNet, Exchange, Sharepoint Moving to Azure Cloud Platform

Ed: Does Microsoft understand web 2.0? 

Mr. Ozzie is coordinating a massive shift to cloud computing.
  • Applications like Dynamics (i.e. CRM, ERP), Office (i.e. Word, Excel, Powerpoint), and Live (i.e. email, messenger, spaces, search)
  • Middleware services like dotNet, SQL server, Exchange server, Sharepoint
  • Azure platform that integrates the parts over the cloud
Recently, Microsoft also announced:
  • Windows 7 - an improved version of the problematic Vista
  • Explorer 8 - bigger and better
  • Hints of gesture-based Microsoft Mobile to fend off the iPhone
The Company intends to shift from heavy dependence on bundling, licensing, and selling software to earning subscription fees (SaaS) and ad-supported free usees like Hotmail. 

While Microsoft has the strength of their huge army, code base, customers, and cash - they also suffer the legacy that prevents nimble change. Authorization, authentication, accounting, and control issues that dominate the needs of enterprises conflict with the free flowing, fast changing conversations and interactions on the consumer web. Whereas the footprint of Windows, Office, Mobile, and Explorer gets larger - competitors like Google Chrome and Apple iPhone have succeeded with light weight clients on Linux derivations that load more quickly, consume less power, offer advanced features, change the standards for user interaction, and lower prices to consumers. 

iPhone will soon dominate smartphones. Explorer may soon lose majority share with browsers to Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. Notebooks may be emerging as a category of light-weight devices. Has Microsoft ceded the world of client devices to others - while trying to fully defend their dominance of backroom services? Will listening and responding to enterprise clients slow their move into the consumer web?

Competition is good for innovation. 

Is Azure a game-changer or simply too-little, too-late?

Microsoft's Manhattan Project

This week Microsoft gave evidence that it will continue to be a major force for at least the next decade. The company outlined its products and strategies that more fully embrace the "cloud," such as the Azure set of cloud services; Web-based, lighter-weight versions of Microsoft Office applications; and the latest iteration of the Live Mesh middleware. Google may have won the search war but Microsoft isn't about to cede the global cloud to the search engine giant.

As in past epochs in its 33 year history, Microsoft ties its success to the developer community, having an army of loyal, or at least well or modestly compensated, software warriors. The Microsoft mantra is: "Build a platform and an ecosystem of developers, partners, fans and people willing to spend their money will follow." A compelling platform and the potential to reach a large audience of buyers, which Microsoft can deliver, attracts the developers, who build the applications and services that attract consumers and business users.

Microsoft also now understands that its platform must span every kind of device--PC, notebook, smartphone, car, home, etc.--and offline scenarios. Microsoft missed the Web search revolution, but it's not going to miss out on the much bigger revolution--the move to the cloud over the next two decades...

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