Business Insider/Julie Bort
Satya Nadella, President of Microsoft's Server & Tools unit
Microsoft's top cloud executive, Satya Nadella, thinks Bing and Xbox Live gives Microsoft an edge over cloud rivals Amazon and Google.
On Wednesday on stage at the GigaOM Structure conference in San Francisco, he talked about how Microsoft plans to trump its cloud competition.
Nadella is president of Microsoft's $19 billion Server and Tools Business, which is responsible for the Windows Azure cloud, (Microsoft's answer to Amazon), and things like Windows Server, SQL Server and developer tools.
His star is rising in Redmond, too, as CEO Steve Ballmer reorganizes his management team.
As Microsoft's core customers, enterprises, head to the cloud, it's Nadella's job to keep them from moving to alternatives.
These are Microsoft's big competitors in the cloud, as Nadella sees them:
- In software-as-a-service, where apps are rented over the Internet, Microsoft has Office 365, Skype, and a Salesforce.com alternative called Dynamics. Microsoft's big competitors are Salesforce.com and Google Apps, Nadella said.
- In"private clouds", meaning the software that allows companies to build their own clouds, Nadella only sees one competitor: VMware.
- In public clouds, where enterprises rent computers stored in someone else's data center, Nadella is eyeing Amazon and Google.
GigaOm's Om Malik, who was on stage with Nadella, noticed that the big enterprise hardware vendors were missing from Nadella's list.
"You think Dell, HP, IBM are going to be roadkill?" Malik asked.
"I didn't say that," Nadella laughed.
Nadella said these vendors "have a role to play" as part of the bigger cloud ecosystem. But they're not "at scale" because they don't run any massive internal apps on their own clouds like Amazon and Google do, he explained.
Nadella explained why Microsoft's practice of "dogfooding," or using its own apps internally, is better than Amazon and Google's approach.
He said Microsoft runs lots of different types of apps on its own cloud, including:
- Search via Bing (Bing is running 17% of search share in the U.S., he said).
- Games via Xbox Live
- Enterprise Apps like Office 365
In contrast, Nadella contends that Google and Amazon have let their clouds get "hijacked" by a single big app: Google with search, Amazon with ecommerce.
That's an interesting perspective and one we're not sure enterprises will buy. Microsoft does have an advantage over Google and Amazon today, enterprises tell us, but it's not the tech, it's the support.
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