On Tuesday, April 30, 2013 a couple of press releases attested to some success Microsoft® has experienced with its elastic computing infrastructure and virtualization product Windows Azure, and with Skype™. Sales for Windows Azure exceeded $1Bil. Access to Skype conferencing features (including video) would be included in the Outlook.com web email service through a special plug in.
We aren’t surprised at their success with Windows Azure. We think Amazon AWS (market leader with greater than 80% of the current market for elastic infrastructure and virtualization services) is highly vulnerable. The AWS control panel is very difficult to use. The AWS MARCOM is almost entirely directed to technical users (principally developers). The task of setting up a service for the average smaller business looks to be too demanding.
Windows Azure is a natural for enterprise IT organizations with a substantial on premises commitment to Microsoft Windows desktop computing. The increases in sales points to more enterprise IT organizations adopting a multi tenant, off premises solution for at least part of their infrastructure needs. We think the “Cloud First” initiative by the US Federal Government is also driving some of these sales. Windows Azure, as a Microsoft cloud offer should benefit substantially as both of these groups (enterprise IT and the US Federal Government) increase use of cloud services.
The plans to offer a Skype add on exclusively for Outlook.com also make a lot of sense. GMail has been a very big success for Google, why not Outlook.com for Microsoft? Providing a browser add on for Skype on the Outlook.com website for Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer provides Microsoft with an opportunity to also gain market share from competitive browsers. This strategy looks like a substantial change from the old approach of only building new features for Microsoft browsers. Someone in Redmond has his or her eyes open and should be commended for both of these successes.
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