Microsoft STB’s Cloud Vision: Rashomon in Reverse

By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc.

On the surface, Akiro Kurosawa’s classic film Rashomon (based on the short story by Ryunosuke Akutagawa) qualifies as a conventional police procedural, set in 19th century Japan. While traveling to their home, a samurai and his wife are confronted by a bandit, who rapes the wife and murders the husband. But when the bandit is captured and tried for his crimes, the tale takes a psychological turn. The narratives of the event, as told by three living witnesses and the ghost of the samurai are not merely dissimilar; they are openly contradictory, thus forcing the other participants and the audience to determine who is lying, where the truth lies and why.

Modern day New Orleans, La. is 10,000 miles and 200+ years removed from 19th century Japan, but the story of Rashomon came to mind during Microsoft’s recent TechEd conference. During his opening keynote, Server and Tools Business (STB) President Bob Muglia offered conference attendees insights into the company’s vision of cloud computing, related products and services, and Microsoft’s long-term plans for the cloud. Up front, we were struck by the depth of the company’s efforts and the breadth of its goals; Microsoft doesn’t intend to simply be a player in cloud products and services but the leader in cloud-related development, strategy and solutions delivery. Read more of this post

Microsoft Murky on Cloud Licensing

By Laura DiDio, ITIC

Microsoft did a very credible job at its TechEd conference in New Orleans last week, laying out the technology roadmap and strategy for a smooth transition from premises-based networks/services to its emerging Azure cloud infrastructure and software + services model.

One of the biggest challenges facing Microsoft and its customers as it stands on the cusp of what Bob Muglia, president of Microsoft’s Server & Tools Business (STB) unit characterized as a “major transformation in the industry called cloud computing,” is how the Redmond, Wash. software giant will license its cloud offerings. Read more of this post

Microsoft Plays Where’s Waldo? With BI – Good Idea

In April, I was critical of the BI messaging I heard from Microsoft – as told, it was long on benefit adjectives and short on architectural clarity. But things have changed since then, and the Combined Tech Ed/Business Intelligence Conference made that very clear. Do I see more clarity because I now know more of the detail, and have internalized my own narrative? Likely. But it would be outrageously self-centered of me to think that was all. The fact is, the story is being told better, and there is much to tell. It needs to be told well because it’s complex behind the “simple” descriptions that underlie Microsoft’s ultimate value proposition: BI should be an easily consumed, context-aware service available to everyone, not a separate offering. Microsoft is tackling the continuing grand challenge of BI – expanding usage beyond the 20% of potential users that are BI consumers today. Read more of this post

Is Microsoft the New Safe Harbor?

The following is a guest post from Ray Wang of Altimeter Group. I wrote a different title, but otherwise this is as it appears on his blog.

Clients Now See Microsoft As The Neutral Vendor, Hence All The Questions

Just less than 3 years ago, Microsoft was still perceived as part of the “evil” empire.  Business leaders worried about the complicated and expensive licensing and pricing structures.  IT leaders bemoaned the lock-in and proprietary and often buggy software.  But in a reversal of fortune, customers now worry about Google lock-in, fret over Oracle’s quest to dominate IT through M&A, wonder how hardware vendors will become software providers and vice versa, and remain in shock as Apple’s proprietary and closed approach over takes Microsoft’s market cap.

In conversations with 71 business and IT leaders, the perception on Microsoft has definitively shifted.  In fact, more than 74.6% (53/71) see Microsoft as the neutral and trusted supplier.  With an aging and retiring workforce that grew up on IBM and SAP, the next generation of IT leaders increasingly will exert their leadership and run to their comfort zone of Microsoft and Oracle.  (Note: Don’t expect this to last as the next generation of IT leadership comprises of millennials and digital natives who will try to move everything to open source and the cloud.)  Consequently, Microsoft’s technology offerings receive a renewed interest and reinvestment among customers, partners, and critical OEM’s.  Among this group, many are attending TechEd 2010 in New Orleans, LA.  Key questions they will be asking include: Read more of this post