Report: Microsoft Readying New SaaS Push

According to blogger Nicholas Carr, Microsoft may be preparing to make a major Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) announcement soon, possibly at its MIX08 conference this week in Las Vegas.

"Microsoft has begun briefing its large enterprise clients on an expansive and detailed strategy for moving its software business into the cloud," Carr wrote on his Rough Type blog Saturday.

"The new strategy will, I'm told, lay out a roadmap of moves across three major areas: the transformation of the company's portfolio of enterprise applications to a web-services architecture, the launch of Web versions of its major PC applications, and the continued expansion of its data center network," he continued.

It appears that the datacenter network rumor, at least, may have some legs. On Sunday, Carr reported that sources are telling him Microsoft is planning an "over the top" network of datacenters.

"The first phase of the buildout, said the source, will include the construction of about two dozen data centers around the world, each covering about 500,000 square feet or more. The timing of the construction is unclear," he wrote.

"Microsoft has the resources and, it appears, the will to invest many billions in the physical infrastructure necessary to secure a place among the 'super-group' of companies set to dominate the new era of computing," he continued. "I've also heard that people may be 'stunned' about the extent to which Microsoft will embrace open-source software and interoperability in its plan. We shall see."

One of the datacenters may be located in Iowa -- the Iowa state legislature recently passed a bill designed to give Microsoft a six-year tax break to encourage it to build a "$750 million" datacenter in the state.

Microsoft's Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie has talked of pushing the company software model toward SaaS or a Software+Services strategy since 2006, but Redmond has yet to make a significant push in the space, although it has integrated more products into projects like Windows Live and has shared SaaS sales strategies with its partners.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the vice president of Web & Digital Strategy for 1105's Converge360 Group, where she oversees the front-end Web team and deals with all aspects of digital projects at the company, including launching and running the group's popular virtual summit and Coffee talk series . She an experienced tech journalist (20 years), and before her current position, was the editorial director of the group's sites. A few years ago she gave a talk at a leading technical publishers conference about how changes in Web browser technology would impact online advertising for publishers. Follow her on twitter @beckynagel.


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