With Azure & Windows 8, Microsoft Just Won’t Go Away

“Microsoft.” A name that many people say in the same manner as Jerry Seinfield would say “Newman.” I was doing this just the other day…

Yet Microsoft is a company that just won’t acknowledge its critics and doomsayers, a company that continues to grind out $2 million+ in profits per minute and maintain a status as a Fortune 40 company.

Which leads me to believe we should take its Azure expansion and imminent Windows 8 launch seriously.

The tiles will make desktop and laptop users crazy – and yes, there will still be many millions of desktop and laptop users for a long time to come. It’s good to get out of the Valley once in awhile and learn these things. The tiles look-and-feel may crash and burn on traditional PCs, in fact. If this happens, we will see a quick backpeddle to a “Windows Classic” for these systems.

But Windows 8 will not be this decade’s New Coke. Expect it to be a hit on tablet PCs, if recent demo models shown in Taipei by Taiwanese companies Acer and Asus are priced smartly and work well. Expect it to be a hit on future smartphones as well – Windows 7/Nokia phones are already gaining some momentum, and IDC believes Windows will be the #2 smartphone platform by 2016.

I often put as much stock in five-year projections as I do in the stuff my disturbed cousin over there in the rocking chair says, but I’ll make an exception here. The smartphone business is driven by carriers as much as by consumers. As carriers start to throw a range of Windows smartphones in the faces of store visitors, and incentivize specific phones, Microsoft’s market share will grow.

In this environment, the iPhone will remain a single-vendor, high-end option, Android may some day fracture totally, and it’s still unclear whether Blackberry will go the way of Francisco Franco or not. Microsoft should benefit.

Meanwhile, back on the application farm, Microsoft has opened up Azure to other PaaS platforms, and is following the big-vendor approach of HP and IBM of delivering its dev stuff as Infrastructure, with the PaaS frameworks found within. This allows it to be more like Amazon Web Services, and is thought to be a smart move by others of us in the peanut gallery. I’m hopin to get full Azure (and anti-Azure) immersions soon, and will report back.

read more