Not that they care, but what is going to happen to third party support businesses?
Can't speak for Microsoft. But what I am seeing as a Microsoft Partner serving the SMB market isn't good.
The message I seem be hearing for the Partners is: You guys and gals have had it too easy. Windows and Office belong to Microsoft. It's ours! Our sales! Our support! OUR CUSTOMERS!!! And you've been riding on our coattails and profiting off of our products for too long. So...if you want to "partner" going forward, you're gonna need to do more. You're going to have to actively be selling our products to your customers. And creating add-on software that works with our products. No more just offering your consulting services or providing tech support.
And with UEFI/Secure Boot
, it's up in the air what will happen to the smaller turnkey OEMs and boutique system builders when it comes to hardware as well.
Since Microsoft started its move towards more cloud-based initiatives (i.e. Office365 and Microsoft Online Services) I'm having trouble seeing where there's a future for a company like mine - unless we either want to become software developers, or spend our time selling Microsoft's online subscriptions from door to door.
The subtext I'm hearing is that SMBs shouldn't need or want maintain their own IT infrastructure. Just move everything up to the big shiny wonderland in the clouds. Let Microsoft do the heavy lifting - and provide end-user configuration and tech support. Pay monthly, no minimum, no money down, buy only
what you need - add or remove
subscriptions at will (great for when you get, then lose, summer interns and temps!) using a handy-dandy dashboard YOU manage.
It's pretty compelling argument for a cash strapped or prudent SMB.
Which brings us right back to the good old days in the 60s when everybody was paying big bucks to time-share on mainframes owned and tightly controlled by megacorps. And we (grudgingly) put up with it because it was the only
game in town. Sperry Rand or IBM....take your pick boys! But now, Microsoft wants to bring back that same bad old game they themselves helped disrupt in the 80s. Except this
time they want it played with their
bat and ball. And by their
rules. It's 2012 and the gloves have finally come off. Microsoft is no longer asking or suggesting. They're now telling
us how it's gonna to work going forward. This new attitude became abundantly clear at the last CEBit when Microsoft basically told all the IT managers in attendance they'd better get with the program on Windows 8 - or else!
Brave new world indeed...
Everything the "computer people" of my generation ever hoped for and dreamed about - and worked our collective tails off to make a reality - is now being systematically dismantled by one of the companies that helped bring it into being.
Makes me sick...