Remember when Microsoft’s marketing machine could make up a word like goodness to describe a new software feature, and people would eat it up like, well, chocolate? The ooohs and aaahs at shows — and not just Microsoft-sponsored ones — when the vendor demonstrated products, were a bit cult-like.
And let’s not forget the famous video of CEO Steve Ballmer pumping up his sales team about the latest Microsoft technologies. The unveiling of a new Microsoft operating system was a major event that couldn’t be missed. Where’s that enthusiasm now?
Google, Apple, Amazon. Those were the vendors that kept coming up at a recent Society for Information Management event. Cloud, virtualization and mobility were the topics at every turn. Microsoft technologies on those fronts weren’t brought up too often.
One CIO said Microsoft’s smartphones blew away the competition when it came to email functionality, yet he used an Android. I saw many attendees carrying around iPhones, Androids, iPads and other netbooks.
Attendees also talked about replacing traditional mobile devices like laptops with end-user devices of choice, on hardware- and operating system-agnostic devices. The cloud and virtualization are allowing companies to build this hardware-agnostic platform, so why not let users buy their own devices, and play in their own OS-of-choice sandbox? One that maybe isn’t Windows.
Some people are questioning Microsoft’s ability to shift its strategy beyond OS licenses and the four walls of an office and the PC. Others are cheering on Microsoft’s efforts, particularly in the cloud, for just the opposite — its ability to create a community with no borders.
Microsoft is making some cloud counterattacks of late, with Microsoft Office 365, a direct shot at Google Apps. And competitors are trying to make their products more like Microsoft technologies, as seen by new features in Google Docs.
Windows visionary Mark Russinovich was also transplanted to the Azure team this year.
But while one Microsoft visionary joins the cloud team, another visionary, Ray Ozzie, was lost to it this week, as SearchCIO.com editorial director Scot Petersen blogged about. Ozzie invented Lotus Notes and founded Groove Networks, a company ahead of its time with its anytime, anywhere “virtual” collaboration software.
We’ve seen Microsoft fall behind before, and come back in a big way — where is Netscape today? Microsoft has lost considerable ground on the virtualization and cloud front with its late-to-the-game technologies. But again, it has made up ground with a familiar tactic, making its hypervisor free, and bundling virtualization technology with software already in place in businesses and managed by devout Microsoft shops.
Let us know what you think about this blog post; email Christina Torode, News Director.