Posted by: drmiw | April 24, 2009

A tale of two clouds: Amazon and Microsoft

Last week I attended a Hosting Day for Microsoft partners and this week I took part in a Start-Up Event for Amazon Web Services, and the experiences were very different. The former was, frankly, boring, with overly long presentations that rambled and didn’t say much; while the latter took just an afternoon, the talks were well structured, interesting and to the point. The venues contrasted starkly, too: Microsoft House is much less grand than the British Museum, and the Microsoft meeting room was humid, featureless and unwelcoming.

The audience of Microsoft partners mostly wore suits and ties, including me, and sat patiently and attentively, nodding and grumbling quietly as they heard how Microsoft still loves and supports its partners, but will mostly be selling Software + Services direct to the customer. Some of the Amazon audience wore suits, too, but there were very few ties on display and the crowd was vocal and lively; the questions they asked were incisive and challenging for Amazon and their panel of entrepreneurial customers.

It seems to me that Microsoft pass policy down to their partners, and even their local representatives admitted that they held little sway in Redwood. Amazon, however, really seem to listen to their customers who use their technology and act fast to respond to requests and improve their products.

Is Microsoft agile and attentive enough to thrive in the cloud wars, I wonder?



  1. Hi Mark, I have really enjoyed your articles. You obviously have a great understanding on the potential and usage of cloud computing and wondered if you could help point me in the right direction. I am starting up a new business venture and with little capital so choosing an affordable, scalable and flexible solution is important as and when my business grows. The area I am not sure in is how to use cloud computing and who are potentially the most sensitive service providers to helping startup businesses.
    I would appreciate any help or advice. Regards & thanks

    • Thank you, Pete. I’ll contact you by email about your request, although I’ll be addressing some of those subjects here in due course.

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