Satya Nadella Commits Microsoft To The Cloud

Posted: Mar 28 2014, 4:12am CDT | by , Updated: Mar 28 2014, 5:08am CDT, in News | Microsoft Windows

 
Satya Nadella Commits Microsoft to the Cloud
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As expected, Microsoft Corp. announced Thursday that its popular and wildly profitable Office suite is now available to users of Apple's iPad.

If the demonstration at a company event in San Francisco is any indication, the suite of applications will perform pretty much as they do on a Macintosh computer on a Windows-based computer or tablet. Downloads of the software were made available at 2p.m. ET.

Microsoft will let existing Office 365 subscribers add their iPads to their subscriptions and will make the software available free to just about anyone who wants it on a trial basis.

Investors had already assumed that Thursday’s event would feature the iPad announcement. So the shares experienced a bit of the buy-the-rumor/sell-the-news syndrome and fell back a bit.

But there was actually quite a bit more to chew on.

What new CEO Satya Nadella and Office General Manager Julia White outlined (and what Microsoft will show off in the next few weeks) is that Mr. Softie is no longer trying to defend the Windows ecosystem against the world. Instead, Microsoft is pushing the idea of Mobile First/Cloud First so that just about every product Microsoft sells should be available on just about all platforms.

In other words, Microsoft plans to be of the Cloud, for the Cloud and by the Cloud.

So, in addition to the important iPad announcement, there was an equally important announcement aimed at the universe of IT professionals.

They may regard the tech world’s head-long rush to Cloud computing as a carte-blanche invitation to every hacker, whether comedian or cyber-terrorist, to mess with global computer networks.

Microsoft is launching on May 1 what it calls the Enterprise Mobility Suite, a package of software aimed at managing devices and applications on multiple platforms, including the iPad/iPhone iOS, Google's Android platform, Windows and Windows phone.

Some of the software already exists, like Windows Intune, which helps companies and governments manage how individuals’ cell phones, tablets and computers access networks. System Center lets customers manage PCs and servers as well as offer access to preferred applications.

In this vein, Microsoft is entering a market whose players already include VMWare, with its Airwatch business; Citrix Systems, which markets the Zenprise software; and BlackBerry, with its BES 10 software.

Microsoft ended the day off 43 cents, or 1.1%, to $39.36.  The shares were up slightly after hours. With the Thursday close, Microsoft was up 2.7% for March and 5.2% for the year. It is the fifth-best performer among the 30 Dow stocks this year and is outperforming Apple, Google and Amazon.com.

The Microsoft announcement on Thursday comes as competition in the cloud universe is heating up.

Amazon.com and Google are fighting over which has the largest web-hosting businesses. On Tuesday, Google cut prices on its Elastic Compute Cloud service by 30% to 40%. It chopped prices on its Simple Storage Service by 60%.

Amazon matched the cuts on Wednesday.

This is a big-time growth business. Analysts, including Forrester, see the business generating $20 billion a year in revenue by 2020.

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