Tag: microsoft

Google targeting Office 365

google-ICGoogle is getting more agressive in its attempts to lure customers to Google Apps from Microsoft Office 365 after its initial programme was successful.

An incentive which allowed midsize businesses locked in contracts with other vendors to use Google Apps at no cost until those contracts expired was started in October and expired on April 14.

But Google has decided to maintain the incentive until the end of 2016, while also making it easier for smaller companies to qualify.

Writing in his bog, Neil Delaney, sales director for Google Apps said that the programme, which also helps fund migrations to Google’s cloud is doing rather well.

More than 20,000 midsize companies took advantage of the offer since October, launching 200,000 new Apps seats they wouldn’t have to pay for until licenses with other software vendors expired.

The original iteration of the programme applied to companies with between 250 and 3,000 employees. Delaney said Google fielded so much interest from smaller customers that it reduced the threshold to 100 employees for the extension period.

The programme aims to induce companies locked into an Enterprise Agreement (EA) to switch to Google Apps.  It gives new customers the opportunity to influence the move to Apps and gives decision makers the final incentive to make the switch.

Google wouldn’t name specific competitors from whom it sees the programme siphoning customers.  But it is pretty obviously talking about the sort of volume license offered by Microsoft for certain products, including Office 365.

 

Comparex sales deal looks dead in the water

charly_poseMicrosoft enterprise licensing house Comparex is having difficulty selling itself off.

The Raiffeisen Banking Group-owned reseller hired investment banker Jefferies to manage a sales process in May and by September last we heard there were two private equity firms left in the running.

An agreement was expected for the end of 2015 but the dark satanic rumour mill claims that the talks collapsed and Comparex was left without a buyer.

The private equity buyers did not see licensing or software asset management strategy as being a good deal any more. Microsoft thinks that everyone will be using consumption-based licences through Azure and Office 365 making an Enterprise Agreement pointless.

Vole has reduced the profits licensing houses can generate from license reselling and recently confirmed that it will gradually kill off EAs in favour of Microsoft Products and Services Agreements and Cloud Solution Partner purchasing models.

Comparex resells software from 70 other vendors including Adobe, CA, IBM, Citrix and VMware but its primary vendor is Vole.

Peruni Holdings, which is a system integrator owned by Raiffeisen Bank, has owned Comparex since 2011.

Microsoft’s Azure cloud growing

Every silver has a cloudy liningMicrosoft’s Azure cloud computing platform is growing like topsie.

Vole announced that it was signing up 120,000 new business customers and developer subscribers monthly.

Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the company’s Cloud and Enterprise group, said at a developer conference in San Francisco that more than four million developers are also registered to use Microsoft’s developer tools. In January, Microsoft claimed it had 3.8 million developers registered.

Microsoft is focusing on business services and its Azure cloud services platform is a major competitor to Amazon.com’s AWS. Both companies have huge server banks which run services and software for customers looking for added flexibility, lower costs and reliability.

Vole has been getting its foot in the door thanks to parceling up Azure services through its channel and is doing quite well at getting its cloud to rain on Amazon’s parade.

 

Wintel creates new channel incentive programme

wintel_blimp_featureIntel and Microsoft have set up a point-based channel incentive programme to get Intel’s Technology Provider partners to upgrade the 600 million PCs in use today that are five years old or older to the new Skylake-Windows 10 platform.

Dubbed the Accelerate Your Business initiative, North American custom builders selling Windows 10-Skylake systems will be rewarded with the new programme, available through Intel distributors.

Under the deal, custom builders in North America can earn points when they purchase Intel sixth-generation Core i5 or Core i7 components and Windows 10 Pro.

Partners must be active Gold or Platinum Intel Technology Providers. The promotion is valid until June 30.

According to Intel, the initiative will also include training, collateral and resource kits for reseller partners to help showcase the benefits of refreshing PCs.

Intel  is expected to announce the news at its Intel Solutions Summit later this week.  It is is not clear if the programme will be rolled out to its UK partners at the same time.

 

Google expands its cloud offerings worldwide

Google's Eric "Google Glass" SchmidtSearch Engine Google is expanding its data centre operations worldwide, announcing more than 10 new Google Cloud Platform regions to take on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The first two new regions are set for Oregon in the United States and Tokyo in Japan, and are expected to be up and running by the end of 2016. The rest will follow in 2017.

Varun Sakalkar, Google Cloud’s product manager said that the outfit was opening these new regions to help Cloud Platform customers deploy services and applications nearer to their own customers, for lower latency and greater responsiveness.

“With these new regions, even more applications become candidates to run on Cloud Platform, and get the benefits of Google-level scale and industry leading price/performance,” he said.

The cloud business is getting more cutthroat with AWS, Google, and Microsoft engaged in a bitter price war in recent years, attempting to undercut each other in order to attract customers.

Google has made moves this year to boost its cloud infrastructure strategy and is thinking of buying a number of cloud companies for acquisition, endeavouring to diversify its software and infrastructure offerings to match those of Microsoft Azure and AWS.

Interestingly, AWS has 12 regions globally, the same number Google today announced it was targetting. IBM will soon have 15 major data centres around the world.

Google has just four cloud regions, but with that sphere of influence set to quadruple into new markets across the globe, international customers are about to have a much tougher choice when it comes to choosing a public cloud provider.

 

Microsoft’s cloud partners make a killing

cloud (264 x 264)Beancounters at IDC have been adding up some numbers and reached the conclusion that Microsoft’s cloud  partners are making a killing.

IDC and Microsoft released a report with the catchy title “The Booming Cloud Opportunity” which appears to be the first in a series. Book two will probably take place a few years after book one and feature some of the original characters.

It is based on detailed interviews with 25 partners with solid credentials, like Christopher Hertz of New Signature, Mark Seeley of Intellinet and Geeman Yip of BitTitan.

Basically it says that Microsoft’s cloud Partners have double the growth of those who are less-cloudy. IDC defines cloud partners as companies that get at least half of their revenues from the cloud. Of the 750 Microsoft partners they surveyed, about a fifth of them hit that mark. That top tier of cloud partners reported overall company revenue growth of 24 percent on average, while the rest saw growth of 12 percent.

Next it says that Cloud Partners have 1.5 the gross profit  of the less-cloudy . The figure for the cloud partner group is 41 percent gross profit, while the rest had 27 percent.

Apparently Cloud Partners have 1.8x the recurring revenue of the others. The cloud partners reported that 52 percent of their overall revenues, not just cloud revenues, came from recurring revenue sources. That compares to about 29 percent of revenues coming from recurring sources for the rest of the partners in the survey.

Other findings are that Cloud Partners sell $5.87 of their own offerings for every dollar of Microsoft Cloud Solutions. The rest of the surveyed partners sold $3.71 of their own offerings for every $1 of Microsoft cloud solutions. Importantly on this one, only a little over 400 partners answered.

The IDC report does warn that the surveys don’t always reveal causation.”There’s a lot going on inside all of these partner businesses that could account for the differences other than how much Microsoft cloud services the companies sell.

The report goes against the  popular channel opinion on cloud — that selling cloud services is a recipe for lower margins and lower profitability.

Microsoft solves EU cloud problem

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudMicrosoft announced a number of new cloud offerings today including one which will solve the company’s European cloud problesm.

The problem is that Microsoft is US company and its country delights in spying on its allies.  The EU fears that the NSA could get a court order and force Microsoft to hand over data from its European clouds and force it not to tell anyone.

Microsoft has come up with a wizard wheeze by creating a product called Azure Deutschland — a German cloud region that will offer Azure services that come not directly from Microsoft, but from the German data trustee Deutsche Telekom.

It not only makes sure that data remains in Germany, but also means that Microsoft can’t actually get to the data itself.  By operating under a German company, the NSA can’t force Vole to do squat.

In fact, while the region offers redundancy and backup, it does so through a private network to ensure that none of the bits being backed up even go through the public Internet where they might stray onto foreign soil.

Germany has some of the strictest data privacy protection laws on the books, and Microsoft said that Deutsche Telekom will have strict protocols regarding when Microsoft is allowed access, even for support:

 

Windows 10 not helping to push PC sales

screen-shot-2015-11-02-at-81934-amThe maker of expensive printer ink, HP’s  Chief Executive Dion Weisler, said that Windows 10 was not helping push PC sales.He said that Windows 10 hasn’t delivered and there is not enough demand for Microsoft’s new OS to help HP survive in a declining PC market.HP delivered the first earnings report since its split. HP reported a 12 percent drop in revenue to $13.9 billion, and a 16 percent drop in continuing operations to $700 million. Virtually every meaningful segment of the business reported declines, including revenue and earnings in both its printer and PC businesses.

He blamed Microsoft which he said that made a  tremendous operating system platform, and universal apps and Continuum computing but failed to stimulate demand.

“We’re carefully monitoring any sort of price development that could further weaken demand,” Weisler said.

HP sold 14.2 million PCs during 2015, but still saw its market share drop by 10 percent—and it ranked second in worldwide PC sales behind Lenovo, according to IDC.  If HP can’t rely on Microsoft to provide the killer app, it might be its own PC future is limited.

EU gives its cloud to BT, IBM, Accenture and Atos

Eu-flag-vector-material2The European Commission has announced BT, IBM, Accenture and Atos will get most of the contracts to supply its new cloud services.

Contracts were broken out into three “lots,” covering a private cloud setup, public cloud setup, and platform-as-a-service, for which it will pay $38.5 million.
The whole lot will be platformed by Telecom Italia which is a bit unfortunate. That outfit is under resourced and its mobile arm TIM just adopted the iChing hexagram for “standing still” as its logo.waiting

It is unusual that Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Amazon and none of the other big cloud outfits managed to get their paws on the EU’s clouds.

The Commission said that all the systems will be physically located within the European Union, the Commission noted, “to be compliant with EU data handling requirements” basically it means that the US will not be able to steal it.

According to the announcement, the contract will “enable the Commission to follow the ceaseless pace of today’s technological race.”

The EU hopes that use of cloud services will help it come up with future improvements to how it works, such as using “Big Data.”

The private cloud service will provide computing and storage facilities through a private network link connected to the EC’s data centres, and will be hosted by a single provider. The public cloud infrastructure will be run over the public internet. And the public platform-as-a-service will include both operating systems and database services run over the cloud.

The first cloud services should appear this year.

IP PBX and unified comms market – here’s Microsoft!

maxresdefaultBeancounters at IDC claim that Microsoft has become a “head-to-head competitor” in the IP PBX and unified comms (UC) space.

Apparently Vole is taking advantage of the fact that traditional players’ have had a slow reaction to changing adoption patterns.

In the first quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of 2015, Microsoft tripled its market share from 4.8 percent to 15.5 percent in EMEA. This made it a “head-to-head competitor “with Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Cisco, Aastra and Unify which have been the kings of the space for years.

With more than 15 per cent market share, Microsoft has become the fourth-largest player, IDC said.

IDC’s report said: “This is not a random rise of a vendor/ The companies that had dominated the EMEA IP PBX and UC platform market come from equipment- and on-premise-focused backgrounds. They were too slow to react to the rapidly changing adoption patterns in the market, and Microsoft seized the opportunity.”

Microsoft changes Enterprise Agreement volume licensing deals

Microsoft campusSoftware King of the World Microsoft’s cunning plan to develop ‘one volume licence agreement to rule them’ starts with a new change to its Enterprise Agreement minimums, takes effect July 1, 2016.

The move is to try and simplify Vole’s Byzantine style licensing. According to what Vole is telling resellers, on July 1, 2016 business users who want to go the Enterprise Agreement approach will face a minimum requirement of 500 users or devices, rather than the current 250.

Those who want fewer than 500 devices/users will be steered to the Microsoft Product and Services Agreement (MPSA) and Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) programmes.

The MPSA software/services licence appeared in 2014 and CSP shortly thereafter. Microsoft currently trying to kill off its Select Plus volume license agreement.

Microsoft wants customers to be able to manage their various licensing agreements with the company so that it feels like they only have one.

Vole says that it does not want anyone to have to buy something they don’t need and it wants to have one place where customers could see all their purchases.

Microsoft’s ultimate goal is to get all customers to use MPSA and CSP for their licensing.

Microsoft has seen the composition of its business-customer licensing deals shifting. In fiscal 2015, more than half were for online services only, with no enterprise-wide coverage requirement,

Worldwide Licensing and Pricing. MPSA and CSP are more suited toward addressing these kinds of scenarios, he said.

Carmakers partner up with Microsoft

Vintage & Classic Car Salvage Yards and Wrecks (11)While hardware and software makers are fighting their way into smartcars, it appears that the software king of the world Microsoft is already on-board thanks to its pretty complex partner strategy.

Microsoft’s executive vice president of global business development at Microsoft Peggy Johnson claims that now that carmakers see their cars as technology platforms, and they are choosing Microsoft as their partner.

Volvo, Nissan, Harman and IAV announced new details about their partnerships with Microsoft to enhance their connected car strategies and they joined Toyota, Ford, Qoros, Delphi, and other companies already working with Microsoft, Johnson said.

Johnson said that the big idea is to bring their cars into the mobile-first, cloud-first world. Soon apparently your car will be connected to the Internet, as well as to other cars, your mobile phone and your home computer.

At CES, Volvo showcased new concepts that integrate Microsoft Band 2 with a Windows 10 smartphone and the Volvo on Call Universal App, creating new ways for customers to interact with their vehicles. From the new Microsoft Band, a Volvo owner can press and hold the action button and say, “Volvo, start the heater of my car,” among many other options.

Harman has integrated Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite capabilities into Harman infotainment systems. Drivers will be able to access Office 365 services and interact with them through intelligent personal assistant software to schedule meetings, hear and respond to important emails, and make Skype calls when in park, or when on the road in autonomous vehicles.

IAV will use Windows 10 Continuum to stream Windows 10 via a mobile device directly to a car’s dashboard, giving drivers access to Windows 10 features and apps such as Cortana, Skype for Business, Calendar, Outlook and Groove Music while the vehicle is in autonomous driving mode or parked. This integration allows drivers to use the devices they already own. Microsoft and IAV will also demo how to use Cortana Analytics and data from a vehicle’s surroundings to improve safety by anticipating and mitigating potential vehicle and pedestrian accidents.

Nissan and Vole will announce that all Nissan LEAF and Infiniti models in Europe will have Connect Telematics Systems (CTS) powered by Microsoft Azure.

Johnson claimed Automakers are choosing Vole as their connected car partner to help them transform the consumer experience with a platform for intelligent cars that complements their own strategies and ambitions.

“With this partner focus, we’re able to leverage our cloud-based intelligence technologies, productivity services and tools, and even personal assistant technologies like Cortana in a neutral manner,” she said.

“We’re able to strike the right balance between using data to create both intelligent and personal experiences, while helping maintain privacy and security. We’re able to create more natural, human computing interfaces. And, we’re able to develop and deploy secure platforms and infrastructure to enable innovation on top of existing systems,” Johnson said.

Microsoft moves server software to per-core licensing

microsoft-in-chinaMicrosoft seems set to move its Windows Server 2016 to a per-core licensing system.

Windows Server will not arrive until the second half of next year, but Vole will probably change the way it licenses its server operating system.  Currently Microsoft uses a per socket licensing system, but now it wants to charge per core.

Windows Server 2012’s two main editions, Standard and Datacenter, had identical features, and differed only in terms of the number of virtual operating system instances they supported. Standard supported two virtual machines while the Datacenter product was unlimited. Licenses for both editions were sold in two socket units and a license was needed for each pair of sockets a system contained.

What appears to be happening with Windows Server 2016 is that this simple system is going to become more complex. There will be functional differences between Standard and Datacenter editions. Datacenter will gain additional storage replication capabilities, a new network stack with richer virtualisation options, and shielded virtual machines that protect the content of a virtual machine from the administrator of the host operating system.

More significant is that 2016 will use a two core pack, with the licence cost of each 2016 pack being 1/8th the price of the corresponding two socket pack for 2012. Each system running Windows Server 2016 must have a minimum of eight cores per processor, and a minimum of 16 cores per system.

In most cases with systems with up to four processors and up to eight cores per processor, this won’t change the overall licensing cost. But for heavier multi-processing and core use the prices will increase. Two or four processors with 10 cores per processor will cost 25 percent more to run Windows Server 2016 than they did 2012.

Those who know the black art which is Microsoft’s licensing will realise that this brings Windows Server’s licensing in line with SQL Server’s.  SQL Server has been using a per core model since 2014. BizTalk has been using the model since 2013. Azure is also licensed on the basis of virtual machine cores, rather than sockets.

What Microsoft appears to be doing is adapting its licencing to increased  processor core counts and a marked reduction of high socket count systems.

Some customers are going to lose money on the move, particularly those who are unfortunate enough to have Software Assurance agreements that cover systems that were licensed using 2012’s socket-based scheme.

HP Enterprise to name Microsoft’s Azure cloud partner

Cloud computing - photo Mike MageeThe former maker of expensive printer ink, HP Enterprise, has selected Microsoft’s Azure as its preferred public cloud partner.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman said HPE will officially unveil the partnership with Microsoft at the HPE Discover Conference in London next week.

She said that Vole shared HP’s view of a hybrid IT approach for enterprises, and sees an opportunity to simplify hybrid infrastructure.

“Microsoft Azure will become a preferred public cloud partner. HPE will serve as a preferred provider of Microsoft’s infrastructure and services for its hybrid cloud offerings,” she said.

HP said it will shut down its HP Helion Public Cloud offering effective January 21, 2016 and generally “doubling down” on its managed and virtual private cloud offerings in the wake of the public cloud exit. Whitman claimed this move played to HP’s strengths in private and managed cloud.

“We will continue to extend our cloud infrastructure leadership and integrate the public cloud element for our customers through a strategic, partner-based model,” she said.

Whitman did not say what this deal might have on HPE’s relationship with Amazon Web Services.

Word on the street is that HPE will provide support for AWS’ popular public cloud simply because it has to.

Microsoft spends a billion on holistic security

Holistic-Health1-590x400Software king of the world Microsoft has invested a billion dollars to come up with an integrated security approach across its software and services.

According to Dark Reading,  Microsoft has spent the cash coming up with a new “holistic” type of security which apparently does not involve crystals, spangley music or poisons diluted by lots of water.

Vole’s chief information security officer Bret Arsenault wants his company’s strategy to appear in the company’s internal network and across its Windows, Office, and cloud offerings to customers.

To do that Vole will gather threat intelligence from sensors and customers and then uses it for detection, protection, and responding to security events.

Microsoft’s $1 billion in security spending this year includes Microsoft’s “organic” investments and three security firms. These have included behavioural learning and Active Directory security firm Aorato, cloud security firm Adallom, and most recently, data and file protection firm Secure Islands.

Arsenault said that Microsoft had always done a good job in caring about writing secure code and making secure services.

“We needed to do more to protect endpoints and get intelligence from the cloud … so we’re making investments in a number of areas,” he said.

Microsoft Enterprise Cybersecurity Group (ECG), focuses on sales and services in “nothing but cyber defence,” he said. This group will work with Microsoft’s security partners and the Office 365 and Azure teams, too, for example, he said.

ECG will provide security assessments, monitoring, threat detection, and incident response to Microsoft customers.

Microsoft has also opened a state-of-the-art Cyber Defence Operations Centre (CDOC) which co-locates members of the company’s internal security team, Microsoft Security Response Centre, security experts in Azure, Windows, Office 365, security analysts, as well as its Digital Crimes Unit and other groups, for detecting and responding to threats in real-time.

The idea is to have all the different bits of the glorious Volish empire working together to  create security features in Windows 10, Office 365, Azure, and Enterprise Mobility Suite work together to prevent password-related attacks, data loss, and malware.