Today at the Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer pitched a cloud-based future to the global community of the company’s partners.
Microsoft has been moving towards the cloud for some time, Ballmer noted, saying that five years ago, the cloud was merely something that was mentioned. Three years ago it was a topic, and now according to Ballmer the promised disruption of the cloud is a reality. Last year Microsoft told its partners that it was “all in” on the cloud, and it seems that Ballmer had some fear that partners would balk at the transition.
Earlier in the day, Microsoft noted that it makes a huge percentage of its revenues through partners, so Ballmer’s fear that its move to the cloud was risky wasn’t that far off: If partners didn’t like what Microsoft was doing with the cloud, they could simply select another company’s products to vend.
Ballmer made a point of thanking the partners that were “making the transition” to the cloud with the company. The response from the audience was demure, with the loudest applause during Ballmer’s cloud pitch coming at the end of an inspirational video clip of the firm’s Imagine Cup competitors.
Now that Microsoft is driving its products and services to the cloud, perhaps best embodied by Office 365, the company is forcing its partners to either tag along, or get off the bus. So far, Microsoft’s partners appear to be falling in, and not falling out. But it is not too difficult to see a percentage of current partners simply going elsewhere. Then again, not if Ballmer has anything to say about it.
TNWmicrosoft will be continuing to cover the Worldwide Partner Conference over the next three days.