July 18, 2014
It’s of little surprise that the cloud was a big topic at Microsoft‘s (MSFT) Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington, D.C., this week. Considering CEO Satya Nadella’s much-discussed “mobile first, cloud first” strategy, it made sense that cloud was a key topic throughout the partner conference; and Microsoft made a handful of announcements that will affect its cloud-focused partners going forward.
Microsoft has seen significant momentum in its Azure infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings. As noted by Phil Sorgen, the company’s corporate vice president of its Worldwide Partner Group, Microsoft is signing on about 8,000 new customers to Azure each week and has made several inroads into the enterprise market. Microsoft claims 57 percent of Fortune 500 organizations are now using Azure.
Microsoft also introduced a new certification program for software vendors. Dubbed Microsoft Azure Certified for Virtual Machines, the program is meant to boost software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings on Azure by enabling software vendors with new way to promote and sell their applications.
Part of this is the new Microsoft Azure Certified logo that can be used to market any applications that meet the Azure program’s requirements. Software vendors that qualify can also list their apps in the Azure Virtual Machines Gallery, gain additional exposure via Azure and co-marketing programs, build a sales channel with Azure, access Azure’s worldwide customer base and get listed in the Azure VM Gallery side by side with Microsoft’s own cloud services.
Microsoft executives also discussed the new Cloud Solutions Provider channel partner program, which will enable the vendor’s network of resellers to better sell into the small- and medium-business (SMB) market.
But not all the news this was necessarily good: Microsoft is tightening its belt as it continues to move more into the cloud, which means it will eliminate up to 18,000 jobs over the next year. The majority of those will come from its Nokia acquisition, but Microsoft also plans to cut jobs in sales, marketing and engineering.
The assumption has to be that its cloud services units will be largely untouched, considering their importance to Nadella, Microsoft’s partner community and its growing number of customers.
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