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Microsoft WPC Enemies List: Oracle Off, Amazon On

Every year, Microsoft bars employees of about four companies from attending the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC). The list for this year's gathering removes one perennial on the enemies list, Oracle, but adds a new strategic rival, Amazon.

From the WPC "terms and conditions" for the conference this July in Washington, D.C., Microsoft states, "The following companies and their employees and representatives are excluded from attending and participating in WPC 2014 and affiliated events: Amazon, Google, Salesforce.com, VMware."

For the last few years, the list was Google, Oracle, Salesforce.com and VMware. Cisco briefly appeared on the list in 2013, too, but came off, possibly when someone realized that Cisco's server division had been a Gold sponsor of WPC in 2012 and was sponsoring again in 2013.

The list usually provides an advance scorecard for the companies likely to come under fire in Microsoft COO Kevin Turner's annual WPC keynote.

Microsoft's precise reasons for adding or removing a company from the WPC banned list aren't typically shared, but the two changes in the enemies list seemingly stem from changes in the competitive relationships among the companies that began just before WPC in 2013.

Amazon Web Services sales often carry Windows or SQL licensing, making Amazon a partner of Microsoft's. However, Microsoft's IaaS version of Azure came online in April 2013 and has picked up speed since. Meanwhile, Microsoft will be pushing Azure more heavily to partners this year, as evidenced by the Azure direct billing option for partners that kicks in this August.

Oracle's return to favorability follows a major cloud partnership announced just before WPC last year, on June 24, 2013. At that time, the companies announced that all of Oracle's key software offerings would be supported on Microsoft's Windows Server, Hyper-V and Windows Azure products. Oracle is a Silver sponsor of WPC this year.

Posted by Scott Bekker on May 23, 2014


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