Microsoft prepares fresh cloud assault

Multi-million pound UK advertising drive to roll out next year as firm looks to sell cloud computing to the masses
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Software giant Microsoft is stepping up its efforts to convert the world to the idea of cloud computing, with a multi-million pound advertising campaign to roll out next June in the UK, and a fresh drive to sign up more reseller partners.

The firm started banging the war drums at last month’s Worldwide Partner Conference in the US, where CEO Steve Ballmer reasserted to 54,000 onlookers that the company’s ‘all in’ on the cloud, and that partners need ‘to decide if they are coming with [it].

However, the firm concedes that the general public might not be totally clear on exactly what the cloud is. “From a consumer perspective the biggest cloud offering we have is Hotmail,” said Janet Gibbons, Microsoft UK director of partner strategy and programmes.

“And we’ve had it for years, it’s just people don’t necessarily connect it as the same thing. The vendors have to differentiate what they mean by cloud services. So that’s the umbrella label, and we’ll have to come to market and say what it means for us.”

In an age where smaller dealers often struggle to make any money out of selling actual IT hardware, Gibbons claims selling cloud services could provide lucrative alternatives.

“We all have to respond to customers’ change in needs, or you die. And Microsoft is no different to that – that’s why we’re bringing online services to market. We’re responding to customer need. I think the opportunity for those resellers is to revaluate where they think they’re going to make profit going forward. But if they were to sell online services, say from Microsoft, we see a massive opportunity. It’s a different model, but once they’ve got their head around it, it’s actually very exciting.”

To read our full interview with Microsoft on how the cloud is going to effect to UK, click here.

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