Ballmer: Microsoft ‘Betting Our Company’ On The Cloud

8 Comments

Credit: Corbis / Vigfus Birgisson

Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) is still most closely associated with its desktop software (Windows, Office etc.), but on Thursday CEO Steve Ballmer said Microsoft was “betting our company” on the cloud. About 70 percent of Microsoft employees are working on cloud-related projects right now; that figure will reach 90 percent within a year, he said.

Ballmer’s remarks — made during an address at the University of Washington — may portend a change in mission for the software giant, which for years has talked about a future of software plus web-based services. Contrast that with the tagline Microsoft is now using for its cloud efforts: “We’re all in.”

Lots of excitement here for Ballmer’s talk — his first ever at the school, a surprising milestone considering the university’s close ties to its Redmond neighbor. The ground floor of the atrium is packed — and people are lined up on four levels of balconies. Before Ballmer started talking, I heard one girl urge her friend to skip class with her. Some highlights:

— The video cliche: Ballmer starts out by asking what the cloud is and then running a video of random people being asked what the “cloud” is. It’s supposed to be funny.

— The “cloud” has always been a source of tension at Microsoft; Ballmer refers to Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie’s famous 2006 memo, in which he said that advertising-supported services and software presented a fundamental challenge to the company

8 Comments

Marco Gianotten

The outsourcing arena will be interesting: software vendors competing with service providers. The latter will have to change their business models!

Marco Gianotten

Ballmer: “70 percent of Microsoft’s workforce is currently engaged in cloud-computing or cloud-related activities. By 2011 it’s 90 percent.”

philayres

This will be a challenge for Microsoft. Traditionally bad at putting together unique products, needing to take a good idea and refine it, Microsoft may well struggle. The question will be who they copy – Amazon, Google or Salesforce.com. My guess is the Saleforce platform will be the point of competition, since it appeals best the developer crowd that has always been Microsoft’s strength. If Microsoft went for a true cloud-based .NET development platform I would be most worried if I was Salesforce…

NookSurfer

I’m definitely excited to see what kind of advancements Microsoft has in store. Although Google has done an excellent job with Chrome, I believe Microsoft will be the one to take the concept to new levels.

Schultzter

The difference is that Google is their own biggest customer. So is Amazon. They first and foremost use their clouds themselves. Their offering is not just one product in their line-up, it is the company!

Pankaj Sharma

It seems Microsoft wants to tap the Cloud as soon as possible.They are also trying to learn lesson from past mistakes like search,Smart Phone,Social media.But i think it is not a cakewalk for Microsoft.

Riaz Kanani

So 90% by the end of the year on the cloud – no wonder they are talking about Windows 8 being something completely different. Maybe the cloud based Chrome OS will not be the only game in town. Bad news for Google..

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