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Commentary
1/12/2011
09:32 AM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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Global CIO: Microsoft Launching Cloud Attack On Enterprise Stack

CEO Steve Ballmer is realigning Microsoft's enterprise products as he prepares to take on IBM, Oracle, and SAP for major enterprise deals.

"As I have said before, the synergies between Dynamics and the products that Muglia oversaw was growing significantly, and that overlap will continue as Azure moves forward to claim a significant piece of the cloud market. Indeed, the growing realization that the cloud is taking over the mindshare (though not walletshare—yet) in the enterprise has been sharpening the focus of executives across the industry. And while Muglia was great at building a strong STB and a strong partner channel for the products, would he necessarily be the right guy to help shift gears and help position Microsoft for a C-level dialogue about the new enterprise a la Microsoft? I don't think so."

If, as Greenbaum persuasively argues, Ballmer is indeed taking Microsoft into the stack wars, then it's going to need some allies—and I think it's #1 wingman is going to be Hewlett-Packard. It was exactly one year ago that Microsoft and HP, with significant fanfare, agreed to collaborate to the tune of $250 million in the joint development of enterprise technologies that the companies said would span from infrastructure to applications.

On top of that, a few months ago, HP contested an assertion I'd made that HP was falling precipitously behind in the red-hot market for optimized systems. HP countered that it's very close to releasing a wide range of these highly engineered hardware-software products in concert with a range of software partners, principal among them Microsoft.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a formal announcement of those big plans from HP and Microsoft very very soon—this month, perhaps?—and such news, combined with last year's $250-million pledge, would surely indicate that Microsoft intends to continue collaborating closely with HP in deep-seated enterprise strategies.

It would match HP's purposes as well, given that its long-time strategic alliance with Oracle has for all practical purposes completely unraveled and left the door open for other big-time software partners such as Microsoft and also SAP to step in and fill the void left by Oracle (for the full story on that, see Global CIO: Silicon Valley Crackup: Oracle & HP Killing 25-Year Alliance?).

The HP-SAP partnership is already broad and deep and both companies would like to enhance it—but that aim could quickly run up against the law of diminishing returns, as I wrote about recently in Global CIO: Are HP And SAP Perfect Match Or Train Wreck?.

If all of these scenarios outlined above play out, here's the impact Greenbaum expects it will have on Microsoft: "The stack components don't go away—they become an essential part of the sale—but they have to take second fiddle to a higher-value offering. That offering in Microsoft-land will not come from STB, but from—and here's where I go out on a limb—a realigned Microsoft that is selling a much broader strategic vision of what the enterprise wants and needs: a vision much more like Oracle and IBM than ever before."

RECOMMENDED READING:

Global CIO: The Top 10 CIO Issues For 2011

Global CIO: Silicon Valley Crackup: Oracle & HP Killing 25-Year Alliance?

Global CIO: Are HP And SAP Perfect Match Or Train Wreck?

Global CIO: Gunning For IBM And Oracle, HP Plans Optimized-Systems Blitz

Global CIO: The PC Is Dying: Long Live The iPad!

Global CIO: Larry Ellison And IBM Lead Surge In Optimized Systems

Global CIO: An Open Letter To IBM CEO Sam Palmisano

Global CIO: Apple Storms The Enterprise As iPad And iPhone Surge

Global CIO: Steve Jobs Declares War On Google

Global CIO: Apple, IBM, Or Microsoft: Who Has #1 Most-Valuable Software Product?

Global CIO: The Rise Of Analytics Triggers The Fall Of The Tactical CIO

Global CIO: IBM Leads IT Industry With Surge In Analytics And Hardware

Global CIO: Larry Ellison's 10-Point Plan For World Domination

Global CIO: SAP's Striking Turnaround Triggered By Customer-Centric Strategy

Global CIO: Top 10 Tech Stories Of The Year: The Complete List

Global CIO: HP CEO Leo Apotheker's Agenda: What Will He Do First?

Global CIO: The Top 10 Most-Influential IT Vendors

Global CIO: Larry Ellison Swaps Cloud Rants For Cloud Love With Exalogic

GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.

For more Global CIO perspectives, check out Global CIO,
or write to Bob at bevans@techweb.com.

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