Microsoft's stump speech: We're leading the cloud parade

Microsoft's stump speech: We're leading the cloud parade

Summary: Microsoft's operating chief Kevin Turner set out to position the software giant as a cloud computing leader with a broad portfolio that rivals such as Google, Salesforce.com, Amazon and VMware can't match.

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Microsoft's operating chief Kevin Turner on Thursday set out to position the software giant as a cloud computing leader with a broad portfolio that rivals such as Google, Salesforce.com, Amazon and VMware can't match.

Turner, speaking at Microsoft's financial analyst meeting, spent a lot of time talking about the company's Azure strategy. He dinged rivals and touted a broad portfolio of cloud services ranging from the Azure appliance to SharePoint, Office, CRM and other products in the cloud.

The overall message from Turner, as well as research chief Craig Mundie, was to establish Microsoft's cloud credibility. The company has landed a bevy of big customers for its Azure services, but is largely characterized as a company milking its Windows and Office franchises.

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To address that perception, the first part of Microsoft's executives talks revolved around cloud computing. Microsoft execs cited many of the lines used by all cloud providers---pay for what you use; Capex to opex, agility, no patching etc.---but ultimately pushed breadth as the key differentiator in the market.

Turner said that a few years ago, Microsoft was viewed as "responding and reacting" to the cloud. "We were quietly but diligently working on making sure that we contemporize all of these products and solutions to enable them for the cloud," said Turner. "2010 was our year to bring it to the market. We didn't go out and oversell our position in this particular space."

Turner added:

In fact, we actually held those cards a little close, because we wanted to make sure when we went out and talked about our cloud services story, it was what we were going to do today. Not three years from now. Not five years from now. Today. And that was a very, very strategic decision for us. And a very good one. So as I said to you, we are the clear market leader as it relates to cloud services for business customers.

Turner's talk, which sounded very similar to the stump speech he gave to partners, was designed to get Wall Street to value Microsoft's cloud efforts. Turner even knocked VMware's "overbloated" market cap. The not-so-veiled aim for Microsoft is to get Wall Street credit for its cloud efforts and some of the love that Google and Amazon gets.

Most of the market cap envy, however, revolved around VMware, which is increasingly seen as a big Microsoft foe. Turner said:

When you think about the competitive landscape, the industry really talks about it in three ways. They talk about it as software as a service, platform as a service and infrastructure as a service. When we think about how that software gets used and provisioned it's really around global providers, service providers and partners and the customer, private clouds. When you think where we're at, when you think about let's talking about Google and sales force for a second. They certainly target software as a service and they dabble some in as platform as a service. But their capabilities are far short of what we're doing from an Azure perspective. When you think about Amazon. Amazon clearly is an infrastructure as a service. But it only provides a limited set of platform as a service capability and virtual machines you manage with Amazon that you maintain and update. Not a whole broad platform as a service, and there's no partner and no host or story with Amazon. When you think about VMware. VMware really is a virtualization provider. Their definition of cloud is they virtualize cloud. And the platform services that they talk about are very disconnected from the underlying infrastructure.

In fact, one of the big advantages that we have of versus VMware they don't run their own data centers. They're not getting the knowledge associated with what it takes to run a world-class global service that we get with Windows Azure and we can then transfer those learnings to the service provider, our partners and directly on to our customers. That's the strategic opportunity we have.

So when you look at where Microsoft is playing across that breadth of offerings, the depth of what we're providing, clearly the sweet spot we have for this company in the most profitable area of this company is right in the heart of providing this IT as a service for our customers.

This slide---where Microsoft is showing its cloud platform covering the specialties of Amazon, Salesforce.com, Google and VMware---illustrates the software giant's thinking.

Turner then cited a bevy of customer wins from Federal Express, McDonald's Coke, Dow Chemical, Hyatt and others. Turner also couldn't resist a dig or two at Google Apps and highlighted a few accounts where Microsoft won deals back from companies that went Google.

Add it up and Microsoft has a nice story to tell and the company is in many cloud bake-offs with Amazon Web Services and Rackspace. What remains to be seen is whether Microsoft can ultimately pivot its business model to revolve around cloud computing. That tale will play out over the next decade and customers will ultimately decide.

Related:

Topics: VMware, Amazon, Cloud, Google, Hardware, Microsoft, Virtualization

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10 comments
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  • That's great ...

    ... but follow up the analyst meeting with continuous feel good ads about its accomplishments in cloud computing, where MS sees the cloud market headed, and how it plans to excel in it. Emphasize that the industry is only at the beginning stage.

    Also, MS should put to rest the notion that Windows and Office are near their ends. I believe MS should emphasize how these products will be extremely innovative in the future and change people's lives. MS needs to sell, sell the company (for the sake of its stock) - and not just its products.
    P. Douglas
    • RE: Microsoft's stump speech: We're leading the cloud parade

      @P. Douglas: ...meanwhile google and Amazon will continue to do the actual leading in the cloud space, and Hyper-V will continue to be an also-ran (call me when Hyper-V can do seamless VMotion and SVMotion duties, and allow more than 24 VMs on a single server before it *snort* runs out of drive letters to assign...)

      I have no real love or hate about Hyper-V, but between VMWare and Citrix, Microsoft is hurting in the hypervisorl realm (notice Microsoft never mentioned XenServer? There's a reason for that).
      Random_Walk
      • FAIL

        @Random_Walk

        Try 384 VM's per physical server. Do you honestly think M$ ties VM's to drive letters? Even having to ask this question shows that you know almost nothing about HYPER-V.

        http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee405267(WS.10).aspx
        jjworleyeoe
  • Was that Cloud or Clown?

    :)
    systemx
    • RE: Microsoft's stump speech: We're leading the cloud parade

      @systemx

      If you add a round Red nose to Ballmer you are correct about the Clown bit :-)
      Over and Out
  • RE: Visuals

    Yikes! Kevin Turner--or whoever created that first visual shown in this piece--needs to attend the Steve Jobs School for Visual Presentations.
    Userama
  • Day late and a dollar short

    Leading the parade? The parade is over, where was MS?<br><br>It's sad to see MS floundering to catch up. They tried to get into the social media game with the Kin. They tried to topple the iPod with the Zune. They tried to take over the game console market with the Xbox. They are 'h ard core' about tablets which don't exist. Their OS hasn't been significantly improved since XP. The one thing that has done the most harm to the web has been IE. Their mobile platform can't hold a candle to the iPhone or Android.
    edelbrp
    • RE: Microsoft's stump speech: We're leading the cloud parade

      @edelbrp,
      "It's sad to see MS floundering to catch up"
      The same catch up is happening in Apple. They had tried with iWorks but still far behind than Office. They tried with Mac OS X server, far behind too compared with Windows 2008. BTW, how are doing the Apple offerings that compete with SQL, SharePoint, System Center and Exchange?

      "They tried to take over the game console market with the Xbox"
      IMO, have a second place in the worldwide market is not bad at all, don't you think.

      "Their OS hasn't been significantly improved since XP"
      You should try Windows 7 before posting this kind of comment.

      "Their mobile platform can't hold a candle to the iPhone or Android"
      With WM6 they would never had a chance. With WP7, who knows...
      dvm
      • RE: Microsoft's stump speech: We're leading the cloud parade

        @dvm,<br>Hey dvm, thanks for the reply.<br><br>I'm not a Apple fanboy or own any of their stock, I'm just frustrated with MS's lack of anything really new or cool.<br><br>"The same catch up is happening in Apple. They had tried with iWorks but still far behind than Office. They tried with Mac OS X server, far behind too compared with Windows 2008. BTW, how are doing the Apple offerings that compete with SQL, SharePoint, System Center and Exchange?"<br><br>Yeah, Apple isn't focused on the corporate big picture. As an IT guy, I don't consider MacOS-X to be a server platform and their biz collaborating tools are almost non-existant. But, they are killing the user sector (for lack of a better term). They understand aesthetics and UI. They can pick a seemingly impenetrable market (cell phones or tablets) and make a killing. Why can't MS do that?<br><br>"IMO, [XBOX] have a second place in the worldwide market is not bad at all, don't you think."<br><br>They were #4, and took a huge hit in profits at the manufacturing defects rate with the ring of death (as many as 1/3 units fail, many users are on their 5+ free replacement unit under warranty).<br><br>"You should try Windows 7 before posting this kind of comment."<br><br>'Kind of comment'? Again, assuming I'm an Apple fanboy? I run more copies of windows here than MacOS. But, to be fair, true, most Windows XP users like me still aren't upgrading to Win7 yet (only 1 in 5), so your guess was pretty safe.<br><br>"With WM6 they would never had a chance. With WP7, who knows..."<br><br>Yeah, who knows? I hope they get their act together.<br><br>Competition is good! I just get that feeling that MS company culture has bred a generation of managers that are living in the past and playing catch up. No true new innovation besides the recent business acquisitions. Where is R&D?
        edelbrp
      • RE: Microsoft's stump speech: We're leading the cloud parade

        @edelbrp,
        "As an IT guy, I don't consider MacOS-X to be a server platform and their biz collaborating tools are almost non-existant. But, they are killing the user sector (for lack of a better term). They understand aesthetics and UI. They can pick a seemingly impenetrable market (cell phones or tablets) and make a killing. Why can't MS do that?"
        Completely agree with you. My point is that MS is dominant in market where Apple hasn't do anything, and Apple has been successful in devices for consumers (iPod, iPad and iPhone). IMO, the MS desktop experience is better than the Apple desktop when you take in consideration the cloud and other devices. Search for information regarding the Zune and you will found that has excellent reviews. XBox is a better platform as a media device compared with Apple TV. So they are doing many things right, but right now the focus is on mobile devices an Apple is doing better.

        "They were #4, and took a huge hit in profits at the manufacturing defects rate with the ring of death (as many as 1/3 units fail, many users are on their 5+ free replacement unit under warranty)."
        That was in the past. The manufacturing problems were fixed a few years ago and right now they are #2. IMO, they are doing excellent for a market they enter recently.

        "'Kind of comment'? Again, assuming I'm an Apple fanboy? I run more copies of windows here than MacOS. But, to be fair, true, most Windows XP users like me still aren't upgrading to Win7 yet (only 1 in 5), so your guess was pretty safe."
        You mention that Windows hasn't been improved significantly since Windows XP. And my response was to you was "try before post". If you haven't tried it yet in a full time environment like you mention on your post, how do you know that it hasn't improved? That's was my point.

        "Competition is good! I just get that feeling that MS company culture has bred a generation of managers that are living in the past and playing catch up. No true new innovation besides the recent business acquisitions. Where is R&D?"
        IMO, the R&D is focused on the enterprise business and not the consumer, opposed to Apple where the don't have enterprise business at all. Hope to see in a future MS giving more time to the consumer market.
        dvm