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Microsoft's cloud strategy

John Gallant, IDG Enterprise, and Eric Knorr, (Computerworld US) | Oct. 11, 2010
In-depth Q&A: Microsoft's Bob Muglia details cloud strategy

All of the services that we're delivering in our clouds are based on Internet standards, either Web services or REST-based protocols, pretty much exclusively. We've used those standardized protocols as we've been building out our clouds. The only things that I would say probably don't fit in that nature are areas like messaging and collaboration, where there are no standard protocols that have really emerged. If there is a standard, it turns out to be something like ActiveSync, which Microsoft has now fully licensed. That's what everybody uses now to synchronize their e-mail.

That's how an iPhone synchronizes, a Google, an Android. Also, there are protocols that we built and have now made available to people. We've built these proprietary systems, but have now fully published our protocols and everyone else is adopting them in the industry.

In the case of Windows Azure, it's all Web services and REST-based stuff and everything is done that way, so it's interoperable.

The other thing that's important is that the customers say, 'I don't want only one cloud provider. I don't want to be locked into Microsoft or Google, anyone else.' We're in a very strong position because we're running the cloud ourselves with Windows Azure. And we're working to offer this Azure appliance that allows service providers, telcos and hosters, to also run cloud. So customers will be able to choose, from a number of different providers to run their sets of services. That's good, because there are a million reasons why customers might want to choose to use a given service provider.

Talking about Google in particular, what do you think people should have learned from the City of Los Angeles' experience with Google apps?

That it's not so easy. The City of Los Angeles is an indicator of how complicated an enterprise and a business environment is. It speaks to one of the most fundamental differentiators that Microsoft has in this space, which is that we are the only company in the industry that has 20 years of experience working with enterprise customers and really understanding their needs, and 15 years of experience building massive scale consumer services.

Go through the industry. You can't find anyone that has both of those. IBM has more than 20 years' enterprise experience. I'll give them that. But, really no consumer experience. Google has big consumer services, no industry experience in terms of the business.

I think what the City of Los Angeles found out was really some of the issues that come about when a provider doesn't have that experience of working with enterprise customers and understanding the complexity of that environment. One thing I think is really important -- if you look at the classic enterprise competitors, you know, the Oracles, the IBMs, the VMWares -- is that you gotta run this stuff yourself. And, you know what? Your engineering team has to run it.

 

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