Channel Marker

Jul 13 2011   5:33PM GMT

Microsoft WPC confidential

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

LOS ANGELES–Here are some threads floating around Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference that you won’t see hear in any keynote.

1: If Steve Ballmer’s out, who’s in?

Don’t get me wrong. This partner crowd is not Wall Street — there are no torches and pitchforks. But they are acutely aware of the pressure Ballmer is under as Microsoft tries to navigate this very tricky cloud course. So speculating on who’s next is sort of natural.

No one really expects the “Bill-Gates-returns-to-save-the-day” scenario play out.  Some musings though: Maybe Microsoft buys Nokia (it’s number one partner on Windows 7 Phone)  and gets Stephen Elop back into the fold as number 1.

Steve Sinofsky has to be the inside favorite to take over the top slot, although some in Redmond see Chris Capossela (chriscap) as a dark horse.

2:  Dynamics NAV ERP isn’t anywhere near cloud ready.

It’s barely Web ready. Let alone Web-ready. Still.

Concern that the first release of Dynamics NAV cloud, due in 2012, will not support multitenancy was dismissed as nit-picking by one exec. Funny, what do you want to bet that when Microsoft finally does support multitenancy that multitenancy will become a huge selling point? And there is big concern among Microsoft Dynamics ERP products that Azure is definitely not ready to run ERP.

 3: The old Microsoft vs. Cisco unified comms war is back on.

It went away for awhile probably because Cisco picked its server fight with Hewlett-Packard but now the unified communications war is back with Microsoft Office president Kurt Delbene helpfully pointing out that ten million Cisco lines hit end of support soon and that a good new home for them would be Lync.

All the Microsoft execs and minions pounded the drum hard for Lync this week, claiming huge sales successes but it’s unclear where all those users are. Not even Microsoft’s own PR firm uses it.

COO Kevin Turner sounded downright irate talking about how Cisco “milked” 75% to 80% margins on its UC gear. (Note to Turner: Publicizing a rival’s high margins to a crowd of hungry VARs is probably not a wise strategy.)

 4: Meet Google: The New Evil Empire

This is interesting if not surprising: Google Plus has got a lot of knickers in a twist with its intrusive nature –yes even among Google fanboyz.

Here’s one comment:

“People I don’t know keep adding me to their “circles” on Google+…it is annoying as hell. A) I want out, but don’t know how to get out. B) This will be a giant PR disaster for Google. To paraphrase Churchill, never have so many been creeped out so quickly by so few.”

Turner got a belly laugh on Wednesday when he said Google had to have a mission statement to remind itself not to be evil. Smugness may not be a good policy here however: Many people see Microsoft as the lesser of two evils–maybe of three if you count Facebook. Not a compliment. It’s all relative.

5: Windows 7 Phone is good but still too late

Nearly everyone concedes that Microsoft finally has a strong phone OS. The problem is its a good phone OS circa a few years ago. And while Microsoft partners “get” that the company needs to use Bing to drive consumer interest and advertising, they’re not buying that the Bing “decision engine” outsearches Google. It just ain’t so no matter how many times you say it is.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Barbara Darrow, Senior News Director at bdarrow@techtarget.com.

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