Anyone listening to the webcast announcement of a business partnership between Microsoft and Salesforce.com. The webcast was published online on Thursday, May 29, 2014. The comment can be found in Satya Nadella’s presentation of Microsoft’s objective to become a “broad platform provider in this mobile first, cloud first world.” (this quote was transcribed from the webcast announcement) With this comment in mind, perhaps it’s easier to understand some of Microsoft’s recent products.
For example, analysts were caught by surprise at Microsoft’s earlier announcement of the Nokia handset’s intention to produce a smart phone on the Android O/S. A number of these same analysts also questioned the Microsoft Office port for Apple iPad tablet computers. Finally, and with direct reference to the Salesforce.com announcement, an analyst from Citibank looked to Mr. Nadella to clarify the impact this partnership will have on Microsoft Dynamics CRM customers, who also happen to subscribe to Office 365 (IMB Enterprises, Inc. maintains this type of subscription. To date, despite subscribing to both CRM and Office 365, E3 plan services, we are still unable to seamless communicate between the two platforms). Mr. Nadella acknowledged the possibility of direct competition between Salesforce.com Apps and CRM within the Office 365 “realm”.
The consistent theme running through all of these questions is an “either/or” proposition. Either the solution is Windows Phone 8, or Android. Or the solution is Office for the iPad, or Office for the Surface. But no one sees the opportunity to support all of these solutions within the same Microsoft “ecosphere”.
Mr. Nadella’s comment, quoted above, should, hopefully, dispel the confusion. Microsoft, much along the lines of Intel, and its decision to open its foundries to anyone looking to build chips in a state of the art set of facilities, is opening its ecosystem, which encompasses more than 1 billion Windows users, etc. to competitive solutions. The only caveat? They must be willing to operate over one of Microsoft’s “broad platforms”: Office 365, Azure, even Office.
Perhaps with this “and” logic in mind, analysts can see the enormous gains Microsoft stands to realize as it expands the range of popular solutions running over its IaaS solutions. The Salesforce.com partnership is a brilliant achievement (they were once a direct competitor). It will be interesting to note the outcome for Microsoft as the partnership rolls out.
Disclaimer: I’m long Microsoft and have no position in Salesforce.com
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