Microsoft: Explaining Its Cloud Policies and Revealing Its Thought Processes

September 12, 2022

After I graduated from a so so university, some other academic entity paid me money to work on a PhD. As part of the deal, I had to teach one class in freshman composition. The students were working like pious beavers to become nuns, priests, and I suppose capable professionals in a religious bookstore or some similar line of work.

I read some wild and crazy essays: Truth: The Path to Salvation, Faith: The Rock in the Thunderstorm of Life, etc etc. I was transported back to my small apartment behind a big estate type house and correcting the type of errors Grammarly eliminates. No computers in 1967 that would fit in my roomy 700 square feet.

The essay which caught my attention is — in modern lingo — a blog post. Its title lacks the metaphorical impact of those freshman essays but the content is quite remarkable.

First, the title: “New Licensing Benefits Make Bringing Workloads and Licenses to Partners’ Clouds Easier.” The main idea is that Microsoft wants to demonstrate that it is not really a quasi-monopoly. Nope, it learned its lesson when Mr. Gates’ testimony successfully thwarted the US government decades ago. Who knew he was a gifted rhetorician or a word-meister capable of The Road Ahead?

The blog title is interesting because it talks about benefits. The idea that Microsoft wants to make life easier. You know. Just like the Windows 11 changes for the corporations who deploy the operating systems to one or two employees. No big deal. Just add annoyances and kill printing. But the payoffs addressed in the blog “essay” requires some linguistic calisthenics.

Here’s a sampling:

CSP or cloud solution provider
Easier
Ecosystem
Empower
Ensure
Excited
Exciting
Flexible virtualization
Hosted
Joint success
Outsourcers
QMTH or qualified multitenant hosting
QOS or qualifying operating system
SPLA or service provider licensing agreements
Scenarios
Virtual core
Workloads

What does the word choice suggest? To me, I am suspicious. How can a giant corporation with a stellar track record of delivering software which often does not work care so much about a provider. What is a provider. A good shepherd, a rock in a storm, a beacon to salvation?

Third, I noted a fascinating but very tiny asterisk in the section title “More Flexibility and Options for Software Outsourcing.” The asterisk points to the foot of the blog essay. Listed at that point are the companies not allowed to get paid to let customers put Microsoft software on these alien, and apparently inappropriate computer systems. You want multi cloud? You want freedom to run the software for which you pay where to want to run it? Ho ho ho. Not unless a regulator shows some moxie.

Who are the dark and threatening cloudies? Here’s the list with the tiny asterisk:

  • Alibaba
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Google
  • Microsoft.

See, Microsoft puts Microsoft on its own list. How can a giant company be more fair? Impossible to out do this path to salvation.

Fourth, information which strikes me as important appears toward the end of the blog post; to wit:

At its inception, SPLA was intended to allow partners to offer hosted services from their own datacenters, not for managed service providers buying through SPLA to host on others’ datacenters. We are making changes to the SPLA program, starting in October 2022, to better align with the program’s intent, and with other commercial licensing programs.

Observations:

  1. Microsoft is scrambling to be on the side of its partners and customers but, to me, mostly the customers
  2. The European Union is likely to be confused by the language of the blog post but will muddle through and continue the crackdown on the US technology companies and their business practices
  3. The Microsoft partners need to generate revenue with Microsoft generating leads, engineering service opportunities, and positioning that maximizes the benefit of many happy Windows, Word, and Teams users.

Net net: Not an F, but I would score the write up as a C minus or D plus. The split infinitive in the blog post was bad. But the tiny asterisk and red lining estimable companies like Alibaba, Amazon, and Google. Clumsy clumsy.

Stephen E Arnold, September 12, 2022

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