Despite grim adoption reports and some negative analyst predictions for several of its key products, Microsoft is striking a chord with channel players and its 2013 line-up.
The slower than expected uptake of Windows 8 at enterprise and consumer levels plus doubts about the competitiveness of Windows Surface tablet and the impact of its decision to lend Dell $US2 billion for its move to privatisation seem to have hardly dented the enthusiasm of local industry experts who claim its new bunch of solutions offer big opportunities for the channel.
Let's take stock: Within the last 12 months, the company has launched its Surface tablet, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro operating systems, the Office 365 Open program and Word 2013. It also recently unveiled the Surface tablet with Windows 8 Pro.
Our experts, almost to a person, claim Microsoft's evolved strategy is to capitalise on the requirement to refresh and broaden antiquated ways of doing business in advanced and emerging technologies, as well as to focus on software and services instead of just PCs. They said its approach has resulted in a stronger uptake of its products than 18 months ago.
The only question some posed was the lack of a definitive channel platform while underscoring the need for channel players to understand the new solutions and adapt to the changing nature of Microsoft's push.
Distribution Central managing director, Nick Verykios, said Microsoft's move had made it a strong contender in markets that it was previously weak in.
"Where Microsoft was once 'soft' in any of the advanced and emerging technologies that are associated with strategies around unified communications, Cloud, or Big Data storage, they are becoming a more serious player," he said.
But Verykios has noticed an absence of Microsoft's strategic work in the channel around technology it's promoting. "I guess that's yet to come or in play. It won't be ignored."
Verykios also pointed to Microsoft's $US2 billion loan to Dell and said the venture was a smart move on Microsoft's part: "Keeping a company like Dell investing while they use Microsoft's platform will be a good return on their investment."
NewLease CEO, Doug Tutus, claimed the investment will not impact Microsoft's channel but, instead, provides opportunities from the Dell end. "I anticipate Dell will transform itself into a datacentre provider with services attached to it, rather than just depending on their PCs, widening the scope for the channel," he said.
Thomas Duryea NSW state manager, Luke McLean, said the move will impact on Microsoft's other OEM partners. "They will be saying 'Microsoft is investing in one of our competitors what does that mean?' $2 billion is a lot of money and they have got a lot of publicity," he said.
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