FT : Microsoft Eyeing Cloud Computing Future

Monday, February 25, 2008

A handful of US companies is set to dominate the emerging market for “cloud computing”, which will assume a central role in the information technology world, according to Steve Ballmer, chief executive of Microsoft.  His prediction – in an interview with the FT – points to a future in which the distinctions between software, hardware and internet companies fall away and a small number of big technology companies, each running a collection of vast datacentres, controls the IT landscape.  Cloud computing involves the centralised storage and processing of information – a shift that could reduce the role of desktop computers and the servers and other equipment run by many companies.  This is forcing companies such as Microsoft to rethink their strategies.  Mr Ballmer predicted that a new super-group of tech companies would dominate the cloud computing market, each of them managing what amounts to a giant centralised computer made up of a number of big datacentres.  “Amazon has one.  Rumours are Google will have one.  We’ve said we’re going to have one,” Mr Ballmer said.  The predicted emergence of super-powers in corporate computing points to a higher concentration of influence in the technology world.  The winners would have the resources to operate at large scale, bringing down unit costs for computing to levels others cannot match.  Internet retailer Amazon was the first to start renting out capacity in its datacentres, selling storage and charging companies based on the number of transactions it processes.  While Google has started offering online applications to companies, it has yet to start selling computing capacity in this way.  Mr Ballmer was speaking before the launch this week of one of Microsoft’s most important new products this year, its latest software for servers known as Windows Server 2008.  The software marks Microsoft’s entry into the market for “virtualisation” technology.  The launch represents Microsoft’s attempt to catch up with VMware, a software rival that has dominated the first phase of virtualisation.  However, a key piece of Microsoft’s own virtualisation software will not be ready.  The software company has promised to deliver the piece, known as a hypervisor, by August.

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Reference : http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e6b2e73c-e344-11dc-803f-0000779fd2ac.html

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