Another day, another federal agency moving to the cloud. This time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture picked Microsoft's cloud e-mail offering in what turns out to be the largest government cloud deal ever. (That's a record soon to be broken, we imagine. Heads up, partners.)
Anyway, so, that's about it, right? Microsoft wins a big contract, Google says "gosh darn it" and everybody goes back home, right? Ha. We all know better than that. Google's apparent reaction to the USDA news was "whaaaaaaat?" Followed, of course, by complaints. And maybe they're legitimate -- Google says that it didn't even get to bid on the USDA deal.
All of this, of course, follows on the heels of Microsoft's protest that the General Services Administration played a shell game with Redmond before choosing Google for its cloud implementation. Microsoft's gripe might very well be legitimate as well, which leads us to conclude one thing: Government is seriously messed up.
Is anybody surprised? Inefficiencies and questionable dealings in the federal government? Really? How could this have happened? Seriously, the fact is that governments of all sizes are fast becoming cloud customers because they can ditch old, costly messaging systems (probably provided by Microsoft...) for new, taxpayer-friendly, low-maintenance cloud implementations.
That's good news for everybody, right? Partners, taxpayers, Microsoft, Google... Well, sort of. Yes, there's money to be made there, but let's not forget that we're talking about government institutions here, the inner workings of which have all the elegance and appeal of a rendering plant. Hold your nose before you go in if you know what's good for you, and don't expect to come out without getting some blood on your electric-blue Microsoft dress shirt.
As for Microsoft's complaints about the GSA, reader Aaron is less than sympathetic. He says:
"I think that Microsoft gets what they asked for. If Microsoft was serious about competing with Google, they'd invent something like ‘Excel Services" and charge $50,000 per site license. Oh, wait a second...that's what Microsoft did, huh? No wonder people use Google spreadsheets over Microsoft solutions!"
Aaron, it's hard to argue with you there. We do think that Microsoft has a pretty solid cloud offering together overall, but some of the price tags here and there do leave us scratching our heads.
What's your take on working with government institutions? Do Microsoft and Google have the right to complain? Sound off at [email protected]
Posted by Lee Pender on December 09, 2010 at 11:57 AM1 comments
Those marketing folks at Salesforce.com sure have a way with domain names. They've got Salesforce.com, of course, along with Force.com and now...Database.com.
Yes, Salesforce.com's new database service for the cloud is called Database.com. How brilliant is that? Your editor is on his way to squat on other domain names (is that still possible?) that Salesforce.com might someday want to use: NastyCommentsAboutMicrosoft.com, MarcBenioffsEgo.com, AcquiredByGoogle.com, DubiousCliams.com...
Wait, what's with that last one? Well, Salesforce.com -- a company we at RCPU generally like, by the way -- is claiming that Database.com is the first database for the cloud, which would be true if Microsoft and Amazon Web Services didn't already have cloud databases.
But Salesforce.com is saying that apps developed for Database.com will run on other platforms as well as on the company's own Force.com platform -- Microsoft's Azure included. Database.com apps will also work on a variety of devices, apparently. That's pretty cool and maybe fairly unique, so maybe we should go get LetsGiveSalesforceSomeCredit.com. Unless Salesforce.com has it already, of course.
Posted by Lee Pender on December 08, 2010 at 11:57 AM0 comments
Many are the times that we, in this space, have bemoaned Microsoft's embarrassing efforts to be cool. Finally, somebody in Chicago summed up in a relatively short article what we've been trying to say here for years.
Posted by Lee Pender on December 08, 2010 at 11:57 AM2 comments
It's the old switcheroo, I tell ya! Folks in Redmond must sound like 1920s gangsters (or maybe 1850s gold prospectors?) when they discuss, no doubt in heated tones, Google's big cloud win with the General Services Administration.
Apparently (and this is a complicated story), the GSA, a U.S. government agency, stipulated that, among many other requirements, its cloud data must rest in data centers in the U.S. Microsoft responded thusly with a plan. Then Google, via Unisys, came in with a slightly different proposal that didn't include domestic-only data storage.
The GSA must have liked the pitch because it decided that keeping its data on U.S. soil wasn't that important after all and revised its requirements. Google and Unisys won the bid, and Microsoft cried foul. At least that's what we think happened. The ins and outs of this story probably go much deeper than that.
Really, though, if we've learned anything here, it's that the cloud is still a mystery to many IT departments and that partners shouldn't shy away from making a few "suggestions" in their cloud proposals. If an organization as strict as a government agency can start rethinking federal law (which is what seems to have happened here) on what appears to be a whim, then a little creativity in a cloud pitch might not be a bad thing.
As for Microsoft's case in this little matter, well, it actually looks pretty solid to us. It's very possible that Redmond got hoodwinked. But such is the nature of business in bootlegging, gold prospecting and cloud implementations, we suppose.
Did the GSA pull a switcheroo on Microsoft? Sound off at [email protected]
Posted by Lee Pender on December 06, 2010 at 11:57 AM0 comments
As December rolls in, so the tide of news slowly begins to roll out. We've only got a couple more weeks of RCPU left for the whole year, as incredible as that might seem. Your editor is studying his calendar carefully to make sure it's actually December. Where did 2010 go?
That paragraph sounds like a setup for some sort of year-in-review post, but it's not. We're just sort of rambling here, to be honest, and we're not sure how to make a clean segue to the topic of this entry. So, let's just go without one.
Microsoft and Red Hat roamed further into the cloud this week. Redmond trotted out some test builds of Azure cloud add-ons, as Redmond magazine Mary Jo Foley so ably explains. Red Hat, the open source vendor (that always sounds like a strange description...), made its play for a cloud-based Platform-as-a-Service by buying Makara. Jeff Schwartz offers further detail and technical what-not on RCPmag.com.
Not really earth-shattering news, is it? Well, the Earth is likely to stay well intact at least until January at this point, at least on the tech-news front. That'll mean shorter RCPUs with less pontification over the next couple of weeks. You're welcome.
Posted by Lee Pender on December 02, 2010 at 11:57 AM0 comments
SAP is a company so important and presumably so difficult to manage that it actually has two CEOs. In any case, one of them this week delivered the good news that IT spending is coming around, particularly in the software market. No word yet on what the other CEO thinks.
Posted on December 02, 2010 at 11:57 AM0 comments
The would-be do-gooders in the European Union who have given Microsoft such fits over the years are getting serious about going after another American target: Google.
And what incriminating stuff does the EU have on Google? Well...none, actually, but the European governing body is pretty darn sure that Google has been evil somehow. Check out these allegations leveled against the company, taken from the article quoted above:
"1) Rankings: Google allegedly lowered the ranking of unpaid search results of competitors that specialize in services such as price comparisons. The firm has also allegedly given preferential placement of its own search services in order to shut out competitors.
2) Sponsored Advertising: Google allegedly lowered the 'Quality Score' for sponsored links of competing vertical search services. The Quality Score is one of the factors that determine the price paid to Google by advertisers.
3) Advertising Obligations: Google allegedly forced exclusivity obligations on advertising partners, preventing them from placing certain types of competing ads on their Web sites, as well as on computer and software vendors, with the aim of shutting out competing search tools.
4) Data Portability: Google allegedly restricted services from transporting advertising campaign data to competing online advertising platforms."
Huh. So, Google allegedly earned -- against a lot of competition -- a near-monopoly on a platform, search in this case, and then used its position of power on that platform to promote its products over those of competitors. Well done, Google! If all of this is true, then you've followed the Microsoft business model to a T. Seriously, congratulations. And EU, leave Google alone. Google got the loot. That's business.
Oh, and Microsoft, you could stand to be a little less giddy about this whole thing. We're sure that you're more than willing to help a competitor get whacked in Brussels the way you did, but you have to admit that Google beat you at your own game here -- allegedly.
What's your take on Google's alleged antitrust misdoings? Which do you trust more, Google or Microsoft? Answer at [email protected]
Posted by Lee Pender on December 01, 2010 at 11:57 AM4 comments