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Microsoft positions Azure as the cloud for all

A couple of positioning statements from Monday’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference keynotes.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was careful to claim that virtualization does NOT equal cloud computing. That’s what I would say too if I were trying to displace the VMware juggernaut. 

Ballmer also pointedly noted the need for smartphones that work well with existing IT infrastructure. As if IT has not scrambled to embrace the Apple iPhone and will not do the same for Android. No mention was made of the recently axed Microsoft Kin phone but Ballmer said the company will get the Windows phone right. Someday.

Also a few discrete jabs at other competitors…Ballmer said that no other company, “not Cisco, not IBM, blah blah blah”  offers the ability to boost productivity the way Microsoft does. He carefully did not include Hewlett-Packard and other  Microsoft allies there, but it’s not hard to see these two long-time partners coming to loggerheads more and more. This despite today’s news that HP, along with Dell and Fujitsu, will deliver Microsoft Azure appliances that will run in service providers’ data centers or at customer sites.

The Azure appliance–details of which were nebulous other than it will be out later this year–is one way  customers can run Azure in their own data centers and thus addresses one major complaint about Azure. Partners can support those customers or even run the services for the customer which is, indeed, a big deal. Amazon Web Services only run inside Amazon data centers. However they also are rationally priced (and cheaper than Azure) and let customers run on non-Windows infrastructure.

Looks like the converged data center has taken on a whole new front.

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Is iWork a sufficient Office replacement?
If employees are willing to work in iWork natively or troubleshoot conversion issues, it is a suitable alternative to Office for iPad. Converting files between the productivity suites will always end up in some formatting issues at the least and more often then not, complete loss of functionality, fonts, templates and other built-in features. If a company fosters a culture of being able to roll with these punches or is not heavy on traditional "decks" full of PowerPoint charts, they will be able to use iWork.
While I use office in the office all versions i've seen for use on an ipad are restricted in functionality to virtually a view and edit basis making them useless for working away from the office for anyone using excel professionally
I can do everything I want with it. MS Office is a goner.
I wish it would be but my company lives and breathes Office including Microsoft Access. They will not take a chance of format corruption.
I think overall a full version of office for iPad is needed for the Enterprise world. Having iWork out-of-the-box with new iDevices would be a breath of fresh air from a user productivity standpoint IMO.
Can't beat office for now!
iwork for business is a long way to go.
There is no substitute for office. For me office is a must have! the only reason why I wouldnt purchase an Ipad is because it simply does not have office
iWorks word processing is too limited to be able to write large reports. for example the strange lack of paragraph numbering is rather annoying. Otherwise it is good for booklets, brochures and so on It works better than MS Word.
Apple should make iWork available to all iOS users. Users with existing 2 year contracts cannot just upgrade to the 5s/c series. with millions of iOS users this could help Apple topple the worlds famous Office product (MS Office)
Easier to work with