Cloud is the biggest thing in 32 years: Microsoft

Terry Smith says cloud is rapidly changing the IT landscape

Tags: Cloud computingMicrosoft CorporationUnited Kingdom
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Cloud is the biggest thing in 32 years: Microsoft Terry Smith, senior director, Partner Technology Unit, Microsoft says the cloud is the biggest thing to happen to the IT industry in 32 years.
By  Georgina Enzer Published  June 12, 2011

Cloud is the biggest thing to hit the IT industry in 32 years, according to Terry Smith, senior director, Partner Technology Unit, Microsoft.

"I am in my 32nd year in this industry and genuinely this [cloud computing] is the biggest change I have seen. Just the fundamental move from the constraint of how much computing power you have... to an absolute explosion of devices and effectively unlimited computing power, how do you put those together? What does that do for organisations in terms of collaboration and productivity, in terms of innovation, that is the really exciting thing," said Smith.

Microsoft's original vision was to have a Microsoft computer on every desktop in every home, but that vision has changed with the development of cloud computing.

"If you look at the new world we are living in, we have to harness all of the change that is happening, our vision today is to provide continuous cloud computing power for every business and every customer irrespective of size or industry," said Smith.

This does not mean that Microsoft is moving away from being a software company, that will still be Microsoft's core business, but Smith says that increasingly what customers, consumers and businesses are looking for is a software driven experience, where the services that are wrapped around that and the devices that are used to consume it are of equal importance.

Microsoft said that its biggest software products today are already available in the cloud and the company is just about to announce a new release, Microsoft Office in the cloud.

"We are just about to announce Office 365, so Office is in the cloud, along with Exchange, Lync - our unified communications platform - and with Sharepoint. We also have available Dynamics, which is our business application," said Smith.

Office 2010 is also a cloud-based service, allowing people to use the technology across PC, phone or browser.

Microsoft currently has approximately 40 million paying users of its collaboration platform, 500 government entities running on its cloud platform and more than half of the fortune 500 using its cloud technology and services.

The consumer side is similarly strong, with 500m Windows Live IDs, 350m Hotmail accounts and in the US, Bing now has over 30% of the search market due to the added services and value Microsoft has included, according to Smith.

"There are more people that go on to MSN in the UK than go for a meal in a restaurant in any month. There is real momentum here, I think the most significant one for us and the market is Xbox Live. We are now not quite at 30m Xbox Live users so we have services where we are attracting a lot of eyeballs, but I think the monetisation of that for the industry is important," said Smith. "I think Xbox live is a real example of that being successful."

So far, since the launch of Windows 7, 350m copies have been sold, making it the fastest selling OS in the market, according to Smith. Windows 7 now runs on 16% of PCs worldwide and is selling at a rate of 10 units per second globally. In the UK, the figure is higher than 16% market share.

Microsoft is also trying to narrow the gap between its business offerings and consumer offerings and recently launched a service called Windows In Tune, aimed at SMBs, that is a cloud service to do PC server management run out of the cloud.

"We are looking at the future, looking for that unified experience which goes across consumer and business, cloud and non-cloud, goes across servers and storage, desktop and mobile PC, phones and TV," said Smith.

Smith added that the global alliance with Dell and Intel is driving Microsoft systems growth and innovation.

"The other end of the scale is around private cloud and virtualisation and along with Dell and Intel we are making massive advances around Windows Server and we genuinely believe we have an advantage in being able to say to customers, ‘What do you want to do, do you want to run on premise, do you want to have a managed service, do you want to run a cloud, do you want private cloud?'" said Smith. "You have heard the phrase, the ‘cloud' is on everybody's lips, it is driving everything we are doing and where I think our three organisations [Dell, Microsoft and Intel] are going."


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