Tech giants talk up cloud initiatives

CHANNEL EXPO 2010: Google, Microsoft and Gartner lay out their vision of a cloud dominated future
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Cloud technologies were high on the agenda at this year’s Channel Expo, with analyst Gartner predicting a significant rise in adoption and Google and Microsoft pushing their respective initiatives.

Gartner clarified what it called the ‘hype cycle’ for cloud computing, which essentially identifies an initial surge in enthusiasm when the technology first came to the fore, followed by a significant slump, which will finally plateau into a general level of acceptance somewhere in the middle.

Tiffani Bova, vice president for research in the indirect channel programmes and sales strategies at Gartner, also identified increased opportunities for resellers to make more margin on hardware if they use the cloud to sell less on performance and the latest tech, and more on the service PCs bring.

She did stipulate that businesses may find it tougher to make money out of cloud offerings in the European market than the US market, due to language, tax, and regulatory barriers between nations.

Google, possibly the company most associated with cloud technologies, used the show to drum up support for its cloud partner programme, and its Google Apps portfolio. Peter Lorant, head of Google EMEA enterprise partners, was keen to position its service as a better alternative to Microsoft’s Office 2010. Under the tagline ‘not all clouds are created equal’, he also stressed that there will be different standards of service and reliability as cloud technologies come more to the fore.

Microsoft was pushing its Office 2010 product, which is due for a consumer launch in mid-June. The package makes a great deal more out of cloud technologies that previous versions, as part of its intention to better facilitate multi-format operations across mobile devices and static workstations.

As well as a hefty presence on the show floor, Microsoft also expanded on these themes in a number of webcasts from execs, which can be viewed here.

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