Redmond is bringing Microsoft Dynamics AX to the Ariba commerce cloud integration table, joining other major CRM and ERP online and hybrid providers, such as Salesforce.com, SAP and Oracle.
Latest from Dana Gardner
Cloud and upgraded computing future brightens despite overcast economy, Microsoft-sponsored survey finds
Seeing the downturn as an opportunity to upgrade, nearly two-thirds of 1,200 IT professionals surveyed in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Japan plan to invest in new infrastructure technology, according to results released this week.
The good news is that Microsoft can change and adapt (a least in its intentions and early deliverables so far). The bad news is that Microsoft can change and adapt, even if they need to hamstring their traditional cash cows to do it.
And what Microsoft must do, in addition to making the true cost-benefits analysis murky, is to absolutely win on packaging and convenience. And this is where Google is vulnerable. Google has still to show, aside from costs, how businesses of all sorts can adopt their services and approach in an easy to manage way, that packages things up neatly for the IT folks, and that make a transition from the hairball easy, convenient, and well-understood.
Ballmer is the only poster child Microsoft has left. He does not blend in, he sticks out. It's a powerful image, but is it the one that Microsoft really wants nowadays? I hate to think that marketing and global persona images count for as much as software proficiency, but I know it does. Why, oh why, does life have to be like some kind of damned popularity contest?
BriefingsDirect SOA Insights analysts examine 'Microsoft-Oriented Architecture' and evaluate SOA's role in 'Green IT'
Clearly, [Microsoft] had to go beyond UML in terms of a modeling language, as you said, because UML doesn’t have the constructs to do deployment and management of distributed services and so forth. I understand that. What disturbs me right now about what Microsoft is doing is that if you look at the last few years, Microsoft has gotten a lot better when they are ahead of standards. When they're innovating in advance of any standards, they have done a better job of catalyzing a community of partners to build public specs. ... I'd like to see it do the same thing now in the realm of modeling.
Is this a slippery slope beyond the FUD factor, however? Will such code exposure lead to outright dancing in the moonlight someday? How many products will they give the peak-a-boo treatment too? When will such openness become a security ... err, legal, risk?
In enterprise circles, it’s much more about AJAX than it necessarily is about Flash. Then, you have Silverlight, and now JavaFX Script, which I think are more in the same category as Adobe Flash, than targeting the AJAX world. I've yet to see an enterprise application focused on Flash development. It seems to have much more of a place either in content distribution or the general Internet space. Still, it’s gaining at least mind share, and so we’ll have to see whether this begins to make a push more to the corporate enterprise world.
And the more successful (could they be any more successful?) that Microsoft is at providing PC applications and services locally, online or both, the easier it is for Google to make its SaaS alternatives look good enough. These two massively and globally influential companies will ratchet each other up to the level of the modern-day ballpark. It's not either-or, it's both Microsoft and Google propelling the shifts in the market to ad-based everything online, including your business applications, including your high school yearbook.
But given that Microsoft remains one of the last pure (mostly) commercial software vendors, eschewing open source models (mostly), Microsoft may well stand to lose the lion's share of the revenues formerly known as commercial (mostly). And even $5 billion in unrealized potential revenue per year has to matter in Redmond, especially when high-growth patterns in other commercial software areas are under pressure from IBM, Google and SaaS.