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WPC: Ballmer Wants Partners on His Cloud

Steve Ballmer rarely minces words, and he certainly didn't this week at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. His message? Partner, you're moving to the cloud. That's all there is to it. And you'd better hurry up.

Ballmer told a WPC crowd that Microsoft is moving to the cloud and that partners will have to do the same if they want to do business with Redmond. Here's an actual quote from his speech: "If you don't want to move to the cloud, we're not your folk."

Your "folk?" What is it with Microsoft people talking like hill people? First Kin and now folk? Anyway, Ballmer was somewhat less clear on how Microsoft will resolve channel conflicts in the cloud and how the company will ultimately work with partners that aren't satisfied with Redmond's cloud-compensation terms. Check out this paragraph from the RCPmag.com story linked above:

"Ballmer said that he expected to hear from partners at the event about improving channel conflicts and increasing profit margins for partners. Microsoft would 'factor those inputs in,' Ballmer said, but ultimately, partners have to choose."

Choose? Choose what? And how are those "inputs" going to be "factored in?" We're believers in the cloud at RCPU, and we're happy to hear that Microsoft is making such a commitment (although perhaps too much of a commitment) to it. But Ballmer has almost taken a bullying tone regarding Microsoft's cloud plans.

And that's really the biggest problem we have with Ballmer's bluster on this topic. He's all threats and few details -- and some of the details that Microsoft has released about partners and the cloud over the last couple of years have not gone down too well in the channel. So, a little more guidance and specificity to go with the cloud sermons would be nice. After all, partners made Microsoft what it is today, and they'll likely decide the company's future in the cloud, too.

What's your take on Steve Ballmer's pronunciations about the cloud and the channel? Send it to lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 07/15/2010 at 1:23 PM


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