It is very easy to feel almost sorry for that giant software behemoth based in Redmond Washington called Microsoft. After all, this is the company that botched the release of the Xbox One, missed the boat on the iPod, badly called the impact of the iPad, and misread the technological significance of the tech tsunami called iPhone. To put it another way, if Steve Ballmer were a baseball player, he probably would have been kicked down to the minor leagues or cut entirely. No wonder many Microsoft investors feel they’ve suffered a lost decade during the Balmer regime spanning the years 2000 to 2013. The good news is that there is a very bright spot in all this Microsoft doom and gloom-cloud computing. Thanks to Azure, Microsoft stands to dominate a fast rising new tech horizon without having to constantly look over its shoulder. Moreover, its closest rival, Amazon, is a relative newbie when it comes to enterprise integration. Sounds like a slam dunk? Well, read on and see what’s up ahead for Microsoft. This is one battle that is definitely Microsoft’s to lose.
Cloud computing is not just hype-it truly is big
Cloud computing can’t help but be big because the old enterprise model of local software is doomed. No one has the time to upgrade locally, guard against security threats locally, or pay for software features they don’t use. These, and many more features, are the qualities that make cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) so compelling. Cloud computing is not just empty hype-it is an actual technology trend that will change how businesses and individuals work with softare.
Microsoft’s starting advantages
As you probably already know, Microsoft has many parts of the corporate enterprise software world sewn up. After all, it has had decades of experience forging solid vendor relationships. No wonder many companies prefer Microsoft products because this is the platform their partners use. This network effect is no small asset. It is what keeps Microsoft from losing its corporate base. This is precisely the asset Microsoft needs to leverage to truly dominate the cloud computing market.
Opportunities to break out and opportunities to stumble
The biggest and most obvious opportunity for Microsoft is, of course, to leverage its current massive base of corporate clients. It just needs to recruit its current customers to start using Microsoft products through an SaaS (software as a service) model. This is a massive competitive advantage because Microsoft’s customers have to start from scratch. This current customer base exists because these customers, and the establishments they represent, already trust in and know microsoft’s capacities.
Technology often moves so fast that it feels like a riptide. One moment you think you are leading the pack and swimming ahead of everyone else toward the right direction. All of a sudden, the tide changes, the current comes in and you see yourself being outraced, outclassed, and outstyled. Microsoft is in a seriously sweet spot right now but it is still an open question whether it has the right corporate culture and bureaucratic nimbleness to not only fully capture this nascent market but lock it down for the long term.