Google, Yahoo, VMware Just Buzz Compared to Microsoft Office
So I take off for one week and head to the mountains for some much-needed rest and relaxation and all hell breaks loose in the IT space. Well, not exactly, but there were some surprises and major executive moves during the past week or so that will certainly change the course of the industry, but they still pale in comparison to anticipation over the much-anticipated Microsoft Office upgrade.
The CEO musical chairs continued as Paul Maritz, who had successfully steered VMware (NYSE: VMW) through difficult economic times during the last five years, said he is leaving to take a position with VMware parent company EMC (NYSE: EMC). Why? Some published reports claim VMware was in need of a shakeup while others suggest Maritz is lining up to eventually replace EMC CEO Joe Tucci. My educated guess is the latter — Maritz spearheaded transitioning VMware from mainly server virtualization to be positioned as a leader in cloud computing and what they term “software designed data center.”
While CEO changes often have little impact on the daily life of solution providers, this one in particular is something solution providers should keep their eyes on. Maritz has always been channel-friendly as a direct result of being raised inside the Microsoft organization and this move may push EMC to invest more in its channel partnerships. We will see.
Then there was the Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) executive-shuffling. And this one, folks, is just plain odd and getting more odd by the day. Former Google executive Marissa Mayer has been appointed CEO of Yahoo. Mayer, employee No. 20 at Google, was at the search giant for approximately 14 years and was one of the more public-facing executives at the company, holding a number of key positions.
So why is she going to Yahoo, which has been in decline mode for the past few years, mainly as a result of Google and social networking giants such as Facebook? She really must believe Google has become too “corporate” and her career there had reached a dead end. Now we find out she is pregnant, to boot — Mayer certainly will have her hands full trying to turn around Yahoo while preparing for a newborn.
But while the Mayer move makes for a great story, its implications for the channel is really uneventful. There is really not much any change at Yahoo can really do for solution providers at this point.
For them, more important than these high-level CEO changes is what Office 2013 and Office 365 will or won’t have in terms of cloud functionality and tablet (mainly iPad) support. Upgrades and migrations are the heart of what solution providers do.
While Microsoft is pushing document storage and sharing to the cloud, the jury is still out whether it will embrace iPads with Office 365 now that it has its own touch-tablet offering. The VAR Guy thinks it will, and I rarely disagree with folks smarter than me. And let’s face it, Microsoft, more than a software and OS provider, is an opportunist at its core.
To me, while Mayer and Maritz make great cocktail or coffee conversation, Microsoft’s anticipated releases have more impact on the channel. Channel players care deeply about opportunities to help customers customize their productivity suites, as one channel executive told me. They will generate a whole new wave of revenue providing programming services for the next generation of Office.
Knock em alive!