Microsoft becoming a SaaS company

Microsoft becoming a SaaS company

Summary: Azure's management system can enable software and data to escape a hardware failure. This requirement actually hurts Microsoft in the short term. Services must be run on pre-designed templates.


Still from “The Wizard of Oz,” 1939, MGM, the great and powerful wizardWith the beta launch of Windows Azure Microsoft has laid down how it hopes to beat open source.

It will become a Software as a Service (SaaS) outfit. (Picture from Verdoux, a wonderful blog about movie history.)

Under Ray Ozzie Microsoft has begun the task of transferring all its technologies to this paradigm.

Corporate VP Amitabh Srivastava told our Ina Fried that, so far, only Live Mesh and .Net have been moved to the technology once known as "red dog."

The key difference between Azure and the traditional Windows code concept is that Azure code is managed. Managed code is not vulnerable to a single hardware failure.

Azure's management system can enable software and data to escape a hardware failure. This makes it excellent for use in a cloud. This is the idea behind the cloud, that a program can be running anywhere and everywhere all at once.

This requirement actually hurts Microsoft in the short term. Services must be run on pre-designed templates. In time Microsoft will add more templates and then make Azure template-free, but it's a short-term limitation.

What has to be coming, in my view, is greater visibility into every cloud, something better than a weather report. Microsoft wants customers to ask cloud vendors  hard questions about how their applications will run and how they will be protected.

These are good questions to ask. For a long time cloud computing has been like the great and powerful Oz before Toto pulled back the curtain. That revealed a humbug.

I doubt pulling the curtain back on Amazon or Google will reveal Frank Morgan fumbling at a bunch of dials and switches. But it will start a process of answering questions customers deserve answers to.

For starting that process in earnest, Microsoft deserves congratulations and thanks, even from open source advocates.

Topics: Windows, Cloud, Emerging Tech, Microsoft, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software

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  • Your title topic

    Is Azure an indication Microsoft is becoming an SaaS company?

    In one sense, Yes: Microsoft has wanted to turn software into a subscription service for a long time.

    In another sense, No: Microsoft still treats the desktop as the place from which all good things come.

    A telephone allows you to find out about recent events and even obtain some basic information. But sometime you will have to return to your desk.

    Anything that looks like a telephone, even one with a keyboard, is a telephone.
    Anton Philidor
  • "how it hopes to beat open source?"

    You are giving FOSS too much credit to think they are worthy of M$ consideration. This cloud thing is M$ direct answer to Amazon, Google and Salesforce, none of which is a FOSS company.
    • Dont spit on FOSS you could have suprise

      With the economy down the drain will see alternative to every type off SaaS out there FOSS could grab a large portion of market faster then we can expect ....

      Maybe not in the state but around the world we could have a few surprise ....

      With those tough time ahead the difference between those how will live or died as company, will be to adapt fast and find new ways ......
    • MS has no history of winning on merit.

      You are not giving the changing marketplace enough credit. People and companies are actively looking for ways to make money without being dependent on MS. Android is an example, iPhone is an example, UMPCs are an example, LAMP is an example. MS depends on being the central core to all things technical, like it was in the late 90's early 2K. They have lost that. They have desktop and Office, that's really it.

      Yes IIS competes on merit with LAMP, it lost the internet, it is not gaining as fast as Linux in the enterprise (both are growing, but Open Source faster). LAMP is entirely mainstream now, which is why you see real effort put into making IIS better. Their sharepoint services are also an attempt to re-handcuff the enterprise.

      UMPCs are expected to be 30% of the notebook market next year. That means $20-$30, max, for it's OS offering on these. Search and Web 2.0, MS has no real presence. Embedded WIndows as a lock in is dying. Down to 10-12% and falling at a rate of 2-3% per year.

      XBox still doesn't make money, any other company would have long since abandoned it. Zune is meh at best (I am sure it's a fine player, but the MaybePlays mistakes mean nobody else wants to work with MS on media, ever again).

      Seriously, except keyboards and mice, where has MS been able to successfully compete without using it's monopoly leverage? All the hottest trends in computing don't revolve around MS anymore.

      • No merit?

        Well, M$ has plenty but you certainly cannot see it while burying your head under the sand all along.
    • Amazon and Google

      Amazon and Google are both open source companies.They base their livelihood on FOSS. The contribute back. Yahoo!, too.

      MS itself counts FOSS as a major competitor in Balmer's speeches.
      • Since you claimed they contributed back ...

        can you show me the source of Google Ad Sense, Maps, GMail, App Engine or Amazon's S3, EC2 and so on? Look pal, just because they give back some dog food code they don't make money from doesn't make them open source companies, otherwise M$ would be an open source company given they too have codeplex open source support.
  • RE: Microsoft becoming a SaaS company

    WOW MS will need better product fast ..

    Vista is crap
    Office too expensive OOO3 is getting better and better
    W7 will not be any better than vista
    apple getting big fast

    MS stuck at the crossroad and there 2 fat train coming at high speed ......
  • SaaS will not replace the current revenue.

    While MS see's the writing on the wall, service will replace shrink wrapped, it will be extremely hard to replace all the revenue it enjoys from it's cash cows, namely OEMs and Office. Actually moving to the cloud provides more validity to GoogleDocs and cloud based computing, while OO continues to price pressure Office as a standalone product. Expect more price pressure from OEMs as well.

    I would guess that is why MS is getting creative at squeezing existing customers.,24897,24561082-5013040,00.html
    [B]Aged care providers are shocked by Microsoft's decision to revoke their not-for-profit status[/B]

    Expect a lot more of this kind of squeeze, at the worst time for people, from MS.