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Cloud services, such as Microsoft’s Azure platform, will be less profitable for the company than its software sales, said Ray Ozzie, Redmond’s chief software architect. He said the same thing back in a March 2008 interview with Om as well. Ozzie made his latest comments at […]

bio_rayCloud services, such as Microsoft’s Azure platform, will be less profitable for the company than its software sales, said Ray Ozzie, Redmond’s chief software architect. He said the same thing back in a March 2008 interview with Om as well. Ozzie made his latest comments at an event in Silicon Valley on Thursday, adding that while cloud computing had lower margins, it would result in increased sales.

“The margins at the low level, at the Azure level, are going to be lower than the top level, where you’re delivering a solution or something like Exchange,” said Ozzie, referring to Microsoft’s popular e-mail and calendar application. “You’re pricing that solution around a business value more than cost so the margins are still very, very good.”


I wrote last month about how Microsoft can boost profits if it delivers higher-value services on top of its Azure cloud. The desire for higher margins is why IBM has said it’s less interested in providing the type of infrastructure as a service that Amazon or Rackspace do, but is eager to deliver services that run on top of the computing clouds. It’s also why vendors such as CSC and even Rackspace are trying to differentiate the bottom infrastructure-as-a-service layer of the cloud by touting security and “fanatical support,” respectively. Both are ways to charge a bit more and improve the bottom line. To understand the different layers of the cloud, check out our post Cloud Computing’s Three-Horse Race.

  1. Repeat of what Jeff Bezos said earlier to Om. http://gigaom.com/2008/05/30/gigaom-interview-amazon-ceo-jeff-bezos/

    On the question of why Amazon could do it while other big iron vendors missed the boat.

    His answer was- It has something to do with Amazon being comfortable in a low margin business

    Slide 25 here — http://www.slideshare.net/njuneja/cloud-computing-presentation-644830

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  2. zomg – Microsoft wants everyone to not use clouds and stick with per seat licensing of Windows Server?

    /end trolling

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  3. The monopoly rents tend to go away over time as the landscape changes. If you have built a cost structure that relies on high margins then it will be a painful restructuring.

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  4. [...] knows that the Microsoft heartland of productivity and enterprise software is going to be offering much lower margins when it goes into cloud computing. Ballmer has no choice but to go after the search market.  But [...]

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  5. Why would anyone in their right mind use a company (Rackspace) which claims fanatical support and the utmost security and send the root password to their customer via email? Fanatical stupidy and head in the clould is more fitting in my opinion.

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  6. [...] Ray Ozzie: Cloud Platforms Are Less Profitable (tags: Tech noshit? business MicroSoft) [...]

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  7. What Microsoft says about cloud computing is similar to what Polaroid executives (I used to work for Polaroid) used to say about digital photography. They are delusional! The cloud is the future, and has less margins than the desktop applications. That is why Microsoft will be in trouble for the long run!

    David Robins
    Binfire.com Corporation

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  8. [...] Ray Ozzie: Cloud Platforms Are Less Profitable [...]

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  9. [...] here.  Do you really think Microsoft or IBM wants to run a low margin business? Recent stories, like this one last week on Gigaom, suggest that neither of them do.  The more I read about these larger companies trying to [...]

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  10. [...] may, at the same time, generate additional revenue. However, Microsoft knows this, and so far has warned investors about what the cloud stands to do to Microsoft’s earnings. It will mitigate some of the [...]

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