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Ballmer Talks Up Cloud Vision

Let's forget for a moment that Microsoft is very likely to embarrass itself with the Windows Phone 7 launch next week and try to focus on something positive. Steve Ballmer this week re-re-re-reiterated Microsoft's commitment to the cloud.

This time, he did it in Sweden, no doubt with pickled herring and outrageously priced alcohol for everybody. (What a beautiful city Stockholm is, though. So clean you could eat off the sidewalk, if you could stand to eat pickled herring.)

He also told a crowd in Germany (just in time for Oktoberfest, eh, Steve -- or does that still actually happen in late September?) that Microsoft is investing billions of dollars in data centers. On top of all that, Microsoft made its first official acquisition of 2010 this week, snapping up a company called AviCode whose products, in part, monitor cloud applications.

Although he clearly planned well in advance to say these things, Ballmer's timing in talking about the cloud is good, given Goldman Sachs's recent sage advice (eye roll here) about how Microsoft should be more involved in cloud technologies. There's no word on whether Ballmer used a one-finger or two-finger salute when referring to Goldman, as the custom is different in the U.S. and Europe. (OK, OK...so he didn't mention Goldman, as far as we've read, and he probably didn't "salute" at all. We kind of figure that he wanted to, though.)

All of this cloud stuff is good stuff, of course, although it remains to be seen how a large swatch of Microsoft partners will fit into Redmond's cloud strategy in a practical sense. In any case, we're much more comfortable with Ballmer talking enterprise technology than we will be when he takes the stage in New York next week.

Is Microsoft on the right path in the cloud? Why or why not? Send your thoughts to lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 10/07/2010 at 1:23 PM


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