Microsoft has a real habit of changing the names of products and technologies. One could believe there’s an entire department devoted to the practice. There isn’t of course because if there were, we wouldn’t have the same codenames for different technologies and the names would be more consistent.
Sometimes, names are changed because of legal action (SkyDrive became OneDrive due to Sky taking Microsoft to court).
Sometimes it makes sense. Windows Azure became Microsoft Azure in late March and this is a good thing because Azure has grown and is no longer just about Windows services or infrastructure in the cloud.
Whatever the reason for the name changes, I can’t help thinking about the huge amount of collateral we now need to change to keep it up to date.
Trust us, Microsoft Azure is worth understanding. We’ve been in this business for a long time and certain technologies are essential to understand whether you sell them or services around them, use them or even if you use a competitive technology it’s good to know the field.
We’ll be creating many more blog posts about Microsoft Azure (formerly Windows Azure) over the coming months and we’re creating some training courses specifically for it. For now though, read our blog post on how to buy Microsoft Azure and trust us. Let’s examine some clues here:
It’s no coincidence that Satya Nadella was the choice for replacing Steve Ballmer as Microsoft’s CEO; the fact he headed up the cloud and services division played a large part in that.
Microsoft Azure keeps company with several other Microsoft divisions, including Windows, Xbox and Office, that bring in more than $1 billion of revenue per year
Microsoft Azure revenue more than doubled (150% growth) between FY13 Q3 (Jan-Mar 2013) and FY14 Q3 (Jan-Mar 2014) according to Microsoft’s earning release
Over 50% of Fortune 500 companies were on Azure as of July 2013
Analysts such as Morgan Stanley are predicting enormous growth; exceeding that of Amazon Web Services (Morgan Stanley CIO Survey, 2013. “Percentage of Enterprise CIOs Greater than $1B/$10B expecting to use IaaS by YE2014”)
Microsoft’s investment in its data centres provides the foundation for Azure; the new Azure Brazil South region, located in Sao Paulo state, is available for public preview and this is a huge step in cloud trust as it offers customers the ability to keep their data in-country. Data sovereignty in Europe is sure to follow.
I’ve been working for and with Microsoft since 1991. I’ve been in the toilet with Bill Gates and in a card game with Steve Ballmer (me: “I’ll raise £10”, Steve: “I’ll raise a small Caribbean island”). They are synonymous with Microsoft. Now the Microsoft King is dead; long live the Microsoft King. Well, not dead, just leaving. Bill Gates has also relinquished his role as chairman of the company he co-founded back in the seventies.
So who are the new CEO and chairman?
Satya Nadella is now leading the company as CEO and John W. Thompson replaces Bill as chairman. You can read all about Satya on Microsoft’s news page but John seems to have slipped in discretely. I had to read Wikipedia to find out about him.
Undoubtedly, Microsoft is changing to reflect a higher degree of devices and services. Satya has experience running Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise division so brings a great foundation to grow this. Office 365 and Windows Azure are already successful cloud offerings but Microsoft has historically just dipped its toe in hardware (outside of the Xbox of course). Yes, there are the Surface devices. Yes, there’s the acquisition of Nokia. I’m excited to see what is next.
I’m open-minded but I must admit, the official photo of Satya in a casual hoodie reminded me of politicians trying to look cool by donning baseball caps.