Posted by: Peter Burrows on December 19, 2008
During our dinner with him a few weeks back, Microsoft server chief Bob Muglia had lots of interesting perspectives to share with my colleague Aaron Ricadela and I. Down the road, Muglia thinks Microsoft may well be more of a partner than rival with Amazon.com in the area of Web Services, where Microsoft is launching an Azure platform that will overlap—at least to some degree—with Amazon’s AWS division. Muglia also said that Microsoft no longer views IBM as a serious threat, given what it sees as Big Blue’s continuing move towards becoming a services company. “Five years ago we thought of them as a key competitor. They’re not now.” He thinks IBM is more focused on milking its huge profitable mainframe franchise, than in leading in the emerging cloud computing era. “I don’t believe they’re making the fundamental investments in technology” for that, he says.
But maybe the most striking comment was one that broke ranks with the official PR line coming out of Redmond about Windows 7. Company executives such as Windows unit chief Bill Veghte have hailed the release as a major milestone for the industry, that customers should run out and buy when it hits the market roughly a year from now. But Muglia says what most analysts and customers who have played with the an early version of the code believe: “The biggest news is that it will fulfill all the promises of Vista.”
There may be a finer point to this semantic variations. After all the problems Microsoft has had in getting corporations to upgrade to Vista, Muglia may believe that what corporate customers really want this time around is no-frills reliability, not gee-wizardry. See this story by CNET’s Ina Fried.