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Is Microsoft's cloud scorched earth for partners?

If you want to know Microsoft’s position vis-a-vis partners in the cloud, check out this money line buried in a new Microsoft-sponsored Harvard Business Review-produced white paper:

“Trying to operate in the old way — for example, hiring a large integrator to run your implementation — misses the point (and the cost benefits) of cloud, experienced users believe. One company was quoted $20 million to move to a software-as-a-service solution for HR because they had brought in a third party to do it for them, when another very large company had done the whole thing for less than a quarter of that. ‘A lot of people just don’t get it yet.'”

Ouch, I believe, is the technical term. This should provide some interesting fodder for conversation at the upcoming Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference.

Microsoft has been trying to tread a fine line with this whole “to the cloud” business. It’s trying to persuade consumers and businesses that the Microsoft Azure cloud is the place to develop, run and manage their applications. This despite the fact that none of Microsoft’s own cloud offerings run on that overly-hyped cloud yet.  Details, details.

But it’s also been trying to reassure its partners, ISVs but more especially VARs and systems integrators, that there is room and opportunity for them in the Microsoft cloud as well. Clearly, this is a sticky wicket for Microsoft which has been  far more partner focused than its competitors for its entire life span.

Now, these HBR vanity pieces are the kinds of thing IT companies love to pay for and no one reads except, in this case, at least one VAR who was so irked that he ratted Microsoft out to a reporter.

What Microsoft — and others — need to remember especially as more Hotmail, Amazon Web Service, gMail, you-name-the-cloud service goes dark or gets hacked or suffers other indignities, is that most customers need local, trusted advisers to help  with both their on-premises AND cloud implementations.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Barbara Darrow, Senior News Director at

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