Microsoft outlines personal cloud strategy

Washington, D.C. Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) COO Kevin Turner charted a path for channel partners around the concept of the personal cloud at the vendor’s Worldwide Partner Conference this week.

What is the personal cloud? According to Turner, in the next 20 years the lines will blur between people’s lifestyle and work style and cloud services will be delivered to every person and business.

“We’re all in on the smart cloud, and smart devices and the personal cloud will unlock an opportunity for partners for new revenue streams,” he said.

The opportunity Turner speaks of in the personal cloud is obvious, with approximately 6.5 billion people in the world. And, with the commercial cloud, Turner estimated there are about a billion business in the world.

“Microsoft in consumer cloud services has launched Windows Live and has 530 million identifications, that’s half of the population that’s on the Internet. We’re going after the rest,” he said.

Turner said the personal cloud, along with the commercial cloud, is one of Microsoft’s big aspirations for the future similar to Bill Gates’ dream of a PC on every desktop and home. That dream, Turner added, was conceived 35 years ago.

James Alexander, senior vice-president with Info Tech Research Group of London, Ont., called Microsoft’s combination of consumer and commercial cloud “prosumer.” He agreed with Turner that both are coming together but that there still are issues for this 20 year dream. “Does everyone want it? It will be a generational thing and people 35 years and older are not into Facebook and don’t wish to share all their information. But sharing is the new norm and it will not be unusual to do that 10 years from now,” Alexander said.

As for the channel opportunity with personal or commercial clouds, Alexander said partners are pragmatists. “They don’t beat drums or drive demand. They respond to demand and if Microsoft can drive the demand for the personal cloud they will learn to make money from a viable business.”

Follow Paolo Del Nibletto on Twitter: @PaoloCDN.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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