Last week it was Microsoft's turn to step into the white hot spotlight and let the world know it was a serious enterprise cloud player at its annual Build Developer conference. The week before, Google had its turn at GCPNext, and later this year AWS gets its opportunity with its annual re:invent conference.
When the big guys have the spotlight, they want to take advantage of it, especially those companies chasing AWS, which these days is everyone. Microsoft wanted to flex its muscles, though, and rightly so. It has built up its Azure and Office 365 businesses into cloud powerhouses, still far behind AWS, but a force to be reckoned with nonetheless.
There are those who believe that over the next decade as the cloud market is expected to expand that Microsoft's share will get even bigger. Last week, it was happy to share some of those numbers. They claim that 85 percent of the Fortune 500 are using at least one Microsoft cloud offering, with 120,000 new businesses signing up every month for Azure. They have sent a remarkable 4 trillion emails over Office 365 since it launched. You get the idea here. The platform is big, and it's just getting bigger.
Build was a developer conference, and for Microsoft, it was all about convincing developers to build interesting stuff on top of their platforms. They were forever pushing their size and reach and asking developers to tap into that scale. It's a compelling argument.
For all of AWS's market share, if you look just at Office 365, it provides a meaningful business entree into the cloud for the company
Not a zero sum game
The interesting thing about the cloud is that companies appear to be going with a hybrid model where it means multiple cloud vendors, not just on-prem and in the cloud. While a company may use Office 365, it may also use Google Apps. By the same token, while a company may use AWS, it doesn't mean it's not using Azure or Google Cloud (or other vendors for that matter).
As Larry Dignan wrote on a recent ZDNet article, Cloud computing reaches co-opetition stage:
Repeat after me: Zero sum is a cloud fallacy. One company's win may not be a rival's loss. In fact, we're in a world where three vendors can all claim the same reference customer.
That's why you see Apple using AWS, Google, and Microsoft.
But last week it was all about Microsoft as it attempts to make that transformation from a Windows-Office company to an Azure-Office 365 one. As it does, bringing those developers who came to Build last week on board is becoming increasingly imperative, and as the platform grows, the more attractive it becomes.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Microsoft