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Microsoft Outlines Google, Apple, VMware Confrontation

Microsoft’s chief operating officer has detailed how Redmond will take on the likes of Apple, Google and VMware

The chief operating officer at Microsoft, Kevin Turner, used the Worldwide Partners Conference in  in Toronto 11 July to outline how Redmond is challenging the competing players in cloud computing, virtualisation, security, mobile, workplace software and operating systems.

With the various new products already introduced – Office 365, Windows 7 – and those coming in the near future – including Office 15, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Windows Server 2012 – Turner explained to the 16,000 partners attending the Worldwide Partners Conference how Microsoft can beat VMware, Salesforce.com, Google and Apple in the technology sector.

Sector Challenges

In the virtualisation space, Turner shared IDC research showing that Microsoft’s virtualisation software based on its Hyper-V hypervisor gained market share in the x86 segment in the first quarter of 2012, while VMware, based on its ESX hypervisor lost share. Microsoft’s share was 26.6 percent, up from 22.5 percent in the year-ago quarter, while VMware’s fell to 52.4 percent from 53.6 percent a year earlier.

Put another way, though, VMware still has double the share of Microsoft.

Turner also took on challengers in the cloud application delivery space, particularly Google and Salesforce, and touted Microsoft’s Office 365 – the cloud version of its popular Office productivity software suite. He presented price comparisons of Microsoft Dynamics customer relationship management (CRM) software in the cloud and Office 365 CRM and said that they have more features and a lower per-seat cost than comparable offerings from Salesforce.

Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

On Google, Turner said while it is trying to lure Microsoft customers away from Office 365 with its cloud-based productivity software, partners should be aware of hidden costs of Google’s pitch.

“When they pitch Google apps [for] $50 (£32), you gotta look below the surface with the customer and understand that it’s really an iceberg – that there’s a whole lot of costs that go into making their solution work,” said Tuner.

While touting Microsoft’s cloud offerings, Turner also admonished partners who have been slow to begin pitching its cloud offerings. He cited a statistic from Jon Roskill, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s worldwide partner group that 1,000 partners a month are beginning to sell the company’s cloud offerings.

“I don’t want 1 thousand a month, I want 10,000, I want 30,000, I want 50,000 partners a month coming to the cloud,” said Turner. “Many of you haven’t made the shift. You gotta get on the cloud, if you’re not, because it is the future. It’s where the customer is going.”

XP Death

Turner also urged partners to step up efforts to migrate customers from the Windows XP operating system to Windows 7, if not Windows 8, because Microsoft support for Windows XP expires in less than two years.

“On 8 April of 2014, we’re going to have a huge birthday party …  the 15th anniversary of Windows XP, and then we’re going to put it to sleep. The reality is, it’s time for it to go,” said Turner, adding that there is a $12 billion (£7.7bn) market opportunity for Microsoft partners in migrating customers off Windows XP, he said.

While Microsoft had a reputation in the past for having buggy software that was vulnerable to viruses and other threats, Turner showed how security has improved. He shared information from the software security vendor Secunia listing the number of publicly known security vulnerabilities reported by major vendors in 2011. Oracle led the group with 497 reported vulnerabilities, followed by Apple with 360, Google with 324 and Microsoft with only 231.

Apple Dig

Apple was not spared Turner’s criticism, and followed widely reported comments by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, in an interview with CRN, in which he touted the coming Microsoft-made Surface tablet as a challenger to Apple’s iPad and Windows Phone 8 devices taking on iPhone.

In his keynote, Turner played a viral video of an iPhone 4S with its Siri voice-command personal assistant feature being asked, “What is the best smartphone ever?” Siri responded by displaying a picture of a Nokia Lumia 900 running Windows Phone 7.

“I am not making this up,” Turner told his audience, adding that Apple has since “imposed a gag order” on Siri, reprogramming it not to give that response.

This reporter asked Siri the same question on his iPhone 4S. Here’s how the conversation went:

Q: What is the best smartphone ever?

Siri: You’re kidding, right?

Q: What is the best smartphone ever?

Siri: Wait, there are other smartphones?

Q: What is the best smartphone other than iPhone?

Siri: Would you like to search on the Web for “What is the best smartphone other than iPhone?”

Q: No, what is the best smartphone ever?

Siri: The one you’re holding now.

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