Steve Ballmer was the ringmaster of Microsoft’s annual Financial Analyst Meeting 2008 (FAM) held today (July 24, 2008) at the Redmond campus.
Analysts, such as Joe Wilcox were quick to post articles with heads like Ballmer Soars into the Server Cloud to emphasize the chief executive’s use of the word “cloud” three time in his keynote speech:
Desktop value, mail and collaboration, business intelligence, business applications, the server market despite virtualization is still exploding, enterprise search, the move of enterprises to host their infrastructure in the cloud that we call Microsoft Online, conferencing and IP telephony, management, virtualization software, the database and database application platform. …
Some people say, will all computing get recentralized in the center, in the Internet cloud, in the data center? People like to talk about thin clients. The world doesn't believe in thin clients. Depending on who you talk to, they'll give you that speech in a different way. I'll say, I don't believe in thin clients, Windows is a great product, it's going to have a great role in the future. …
The truth is, we get new opportunities. Today when we sell software, say, to an enterprise customer, we hand them a CD, and they go instance it. If we are instead running that server for them, if we're providing operations support, we see the opportunity not only to monetize the IP that would have been in the software license, but also to derive additional margin from the value add of being able to provide service-level agreements, and guarantees, and support. And see our overall sort of pool of opportunity increasing. We're the only player in this market who is building the future based on the present. We're building off of the strong enterprise presence we have, and moving those things to the cloud. … [Emphasis added].
I’d say the preceding is lip service to cloud computing as a whole.
Nonetheless, it was good to see SQL Server Data Services (SSDS) receive treatment equal to that of more seasoned products, such as Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and CRM Online, in this slide shown to the analysts and press: