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March 2, 2008

Microsoft to place big bet on Web apps?

Posted by David Hunter at 9:08 PM ET.

Nicholas Carr is providing this weekend’s Microsoft buzz with a rumor that Microsoft is getting ready to roll out a Web apps strategy if not necessarily any actual apps:

Put your ears to the ground, my friends, for the Beast of Redmond may be stirring. I’ve heard that Microsoft has begun briefing its large enterprise clients on an expansive and detailed strategy for moving its software business into the cloud. If the report proves correct – and I make no guarantees – the company will unveil the strategy to the public either next week or the week after.

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.

And in the latter regard, Carr has a double header – Rumor: Microsoft set for vast data-center push:

I’ve received a few more hints about the big cloud-computing initiative Microsoft may be about to announce, perhaps during the company’s Mix08 conference in Las Vegas this coming week. One of the cornerstones of the strategy, I’ve heard, will be an aggressive acceleration of the company’s investment in its data center network. The construction program will be “totally over the top,” said a person briefed on the plan. 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.

You can’t have a good cloud strategy without plenty of capex, of course, but what with the Yahoo acquisition this seems like a fairly stressful time to be raiding the piggy bank. It’s a good thing Microsoft has all those old-fashioned operating systems and offline applications to foot all these bills.

Less snarkily, if these rumors pan out, it will be interesting indeed to see how Microsoft manages to finesse “software plus services” to avoid killing the cash cows while simultaneously avoiding owning some large buildings stuffed with unused computers. And no, I won’t complain about all the times Microsoft disparaged Web apps.

Related: Michael Arrington reports a rumor that Microsoft may also be announcing at Mix08 an offline version of Silverlight to compete with Adobe Air for the Rich (and occasionally offline) Internet Application business.



Filed under Adobe, Commoditization, Conferences, Coopetition, Financial, General Business, MIX08, Microsoft, Online Services, Real Estate, Silverlight

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2 Responses to “Microsoft to place big bet on Web apps?”

  1. Manny Says:

    To add to the conversation take a look at a release by groupSPARK: http://www.emediawire.com/releases/exchange/online/prweb742904.htm

    They are taking an interesting slant on Microsoft’s move. Their point about private branding is powerful.

    Do you think groupSPARK will be to maintain its cadre of resellers?
    Time will tell…..

  2. MIX08: No Web apps, but some goodies and datacenter filler | Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Microsoft’s MIX08 conference has come and gone, but despite the rumors of a massive Web apps push, the actuality was much more pedestrian: [...]

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