Yesterday, as we had predicted, Microsoft finally announced its intent to become a major player in the rapidly-expanding cloud services market. Here’s a clip from IDC Directions last March, predicting the “big boots” (including Microsoft’s) that would be jumping into the Cloud Computing world this year.
We’ve written for several years about the unique opportunity Microsoft has to play a market-maker role in industry’s shift to the Cloud, particularly by helping its thousands of application solution and channel partners migrate to the Software-as-a-Service delivery model. SMBs (including in emerging markets) offer the under-penetrated opportunity that will economically fuel the industry’s transition to the cloud, and Microsoft (with its partners) is, by far, the strongest SMB player.
By announcing Windows Azure and the Azure Services Platform, the company is finally defining a cloud-based growth we predict.destination for its Windows-oriented partner ecosystem to migrate their offerings and skills to. Details about pricing and wide-scale availability are still a bit murky – Microsoft spokespeople claim the roll-out schedule will depend on the response of their partners; if that’s so, my guess is there will be great pressure on Microsoft to move quickly, given the
We’ll be commenting more on the Microsoft announcement, here as well as on idc.com. But my main reactions are: 1) This is good news for Microsoft, its partners and cloud services market growth, and 2) It’s about time – now, Microsoft, keep the pace up.