Windows 7 Moves Microsoft Closer to the Cloud

Ann All

Earlier this week when I wrote a post titled Windows 7: Beginning of the End of the Traditional OS?, I kept imagining it being read by Dan LaFontaine. Just like the movie trailers voiced by LaFontaine, I wondered if my contention that steep Windows 7 upgrade costs could accelerate a move to cloud-based enterprise applications might be a little too bombastic for some tastes.


Maybe so. But I'm not alone in my thinking. Saugatuck Technology's Bruce Guptill and Mike West, writing in a recent research alert (free registration required to read it), present four possible post-Windows 7 scenarios, three of which feature increased use of cloud computing.


These scenarios involve companies increasing their use of netbook PCs and other smaller, less power-hungry devices, while adding more software-as-a-service and more cloud-based storage and processing. In addition, they'll virtualize more operating systems and applications (at both the server and desktop level) to reduce licensing and implementation costs and minimize the need for hardware and software upgrades. A final scenario, which they call "business as usual," would involve a more typical upgrade cycle stretched out over a year or two, "limiting investment in other areas of IT and reducing a firm's ability to effect strategic change."


The good news for Microsoft: It'll benefit under all four scenarios. More cloud development will mean more Microsoft partners and revenue via its Azure platform. Increased interest in cloud computing and SaaS will drive partner interest in developing and delivering SaaS services using Windows 7, Azure and SharePoint. (Jeff Teper, Microsoft's corporate VP of SharePoint Server, hints at some interplay between Azure and SharePoint in an InfoWorld interview.) And of course, write Guptill and West, any upgrades to Windows 7 are good for Microsoft.

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