Sorta. But they're talking a WebSphere/Notes/Symphony
solution that most places aren't that interested in pursuing. Especially after they experiment with Notes and Symphony. The simple fact it's different than what most office workers are used to is enough to sink it. It also doesn't offer much in the way of cost advantage. And you'd still need Windows to run 95% of it anyway.
The thing that would make this a killer for Microsoft is that they own the Windows Server/Exchange/Office
solution most places are looking for. All they need to do is load it on a turnkey box, which they could contract from anywhere. I'd bet HP would jump at the opportunity to do it.
Think about it this way:
Company A wants to upgrade their physical IT plant. They have their IT people do a study. Or they hire some consultants to do it for them. They identify a configuration, shop for then buy the software and hardware, get everything setup, installed, and tested. Deploy to the pilot group. Test and fix as needed. Deploy to mission critical functions and users. Repeat test and fix as needed. Roll out to the rest of the company. Monitor. Update. Maintain. (yadda-yadda
..we all know the drill.)
Company B buys the "Office in a Box" package from Microsoft. Based on its knowledge of thousands of other customer's, Microsoft provides an easily modded base configuration custom tailored to the best practices of Company B's industry segment.
The box arrives on Friday and gets installed overnight. There's no hardware or software to configure since it arrives ready to roll. All that needs to be done is create the profiles and user IDs, the file directories and permissions, and migrate data. The system gets plugged in, powered up, checked for problems and allowed to 'cook' for a bit before the IT department starts setting up accounts and moving files. Come Monday, the new system gets run in parallel for a few weeks just to be sure. Then it gets rolled out to the rest of the company.
Microsoft remotely handles all the software and security updates. The hardware manufacturer handles all mechanical issues via preventative maintenance schedules, and/or as requested by Microsoft on behalf of the customer.
Internal IT staffing needs are now reduced to the small crew needed to handle routine system backups and file/user maintenance. Middle-management IT becomes redundant since Microsoft is now providing that level of business function.
In this brave new world, all that remains are the IT 'grunts' plus the CIO and his entourage.
This arrangement works out well for the CIO, who has now been freed up to focus on the bigger information issues and strategies his company needs to stay on top of. No more staffing budgets, personnel issues, etc. Just pure IT upper level management functions - and keeping the rest of the company happy.
Heck, he's even got Microsoft as his 'fall guy' should things ever bork up big time.
I dunno. It sounds like a natural progression to me. Once you start moving back to the centralized model mainframes used, offering a product/service mix like the old giants used offer also starts making sense. And that's true whether the "mainframe" is one big box or a network of 3000 smaller machines in cloud formation. Distributed, virtual, or cloud computing leverages advances in network technology, software, and hardware. But it doesn't change the underlying idea behind having one central mainframe. It's just a more efficient and resilient way of accomplishing it.
Just my tuppence anyway...