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Microsoft High On Office 365 Success

  • Do you know how popular Office 365 is compared to Google Apps for Work? You’ll be surprised!
  • Microsoft’s sales strategy for Office 365 has been aggressive and controversial, but it has been extremely effective.
  • The ball is now in Google’s court. Can they respond with an equally aggressive strategy and astonish us with their numbers over the next few quarters?

When I first read about how Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) was slowly edging out Google  Apps from the office suite space, I was a little surprised. To be honest, I didn’t really know the numbers, but I had a bias towards Google Apps. I’d been using it for quite a while and everyone I knew used it as well, so in my mind it was the best option in the business.

But the moment I started digging for the facts, I was shocked by how cleverly Microsoft has been going about decimating Google’s position in the top three – along with salesforce.com  and Box . I also found several interesting things about both Google Apps as well as Office 365.

A Primer on Office Suite from Google and Microsoft

An office suite from a cloud application perspective is a set of tools designed for businesses to operate more efficiently and with a much lower investment in IT infrastructure. It’s not an infrastructure service as much as an appealing cloud environment, where company employees can collaborate more effectively, access their files from anywhere without major security concerns and access the tools they need to do their jobs.

Continue reading at Seekingalpha.com where the original article was published.

Alphabet’s Google Weak On Cloud Numbers

Google only woke up to cloud late last year. Can it catch up to the three giants already way ahead in Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service?

What are the missing pieces of Google Cloud Platform’s success puzzle? And when will it start picking them up?

Diane Greene’s move from board member to senior management is a ray of sunshine, but will it be obscured by the dark cloud of its competitors’ success?

Over the past few weeks, since I started covering the cloud and related industries on Seeking Alpha, I’ve been astounded by the way some companies are going about the whole business of cloud.

On one extreme, there are those with first-mover advantage like Rackspace (NYSE:RAX) that lost their aggressiveness – and, subsequently their business – to the likes of Amazon’s AWS (NASDAQ:AMZN), yet are managing to claw their way back through a different route. And, on the other end, there are companies like Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL), which are only now waking up to the reality of cloud as a viable business vertical.

Market Share

That Google is a latecomer to the cloud party is kind of a well-kept secret. With the kind of expansive technology infrastructure it has, even Gartner considers it to be a “visionary” in Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Cloud IaaS).

Continue reading at Seekingalpha.com where the original article was published.

India Rolls Out Red Carpet For Marketplace E-Retailers, But With Riders

  • India announces 100% foreign direct investment allowance in the online marketplace segment.
  • This is a red carpet for international players to tap into what will be a $55 billion market in the next three years.
  • Of significance is the possible entrance of Alibaba in the form of a replication of their China model in India.
  • Amazon is in a fix because of one of the riders to the announcement, so it’s unclear whether they will take advantage of the new move.
  • Wal-Mart is still sitting outside this market, and this could be the opportunity they need. But will they respond?

The Indian Government yesterday announced the allowance of 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) for online marketplaces, but with several riders.

This new announcement is, indeed, game-changing because it gives Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) and other players a free run of one of the largest e-commerce markets in the world.

The riders themselves are possibly even more significant because they seem to encourage the likes of Alibaba more than Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) or any other e-commerce company.

Let’s see how that ties in with Alibaba’s target of reaching a Gross Merchandise Volume of 6 Trillion RMB by 2020. A few days ago, I published an article about how China had the potential to help them meet that goal, but there were several challenges that had to be overcome.

Continue reading at Seekingalpha.com where the original article was published.

Amazon Web Services holding profitability bag for Amazon

  • AWS is currently the highest net income earner for Amazon and continues to deliver double-digit net income.
  • Over the past three years, it has shown tremendous growth and profitability, and has been a support unit for Amazon’s overall profitability.
  • AWS is now a market share leader in the Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service segment, and experts say it will continue to dominate the space.

As a technology-based retail company, IT infrastructure could have easily become one of Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) biggest cost items, but Amazon deftly worked around it and converted a cost center to a profit-making business that is growing at such a speed that it is already making its presence felt in the company’s bottom line.

Amazon Web Services is the most profitable segment for the company, having brought in $1.86 billion in operating profits in 2015 at an eye-popping double-digit margin.

To put that in perspective, Amazon’s North America segment earned nearly eight times that for an additional operating profit of only $1 billion – a total of $2.75 billion.

Continue reading at Seekingalpha.com where the original article was published.

Oracle’s Cloud Service Fights To Compensate For Weakening Software And Hardware

  • Strong cloud growth for Oracle signals a shift in revenue stream structuring.
  • With software and hardware losing ground, the company still has a long way to go for cloud revenue to adequately support losses elsewhere.
  • Rather than going heavily into the aggressive IaaS market, ORCL should focus on core offerings in SaaS and PaaS by leveraging its expertise in ERP and HCM.

Oracle’s (NYSE:ORCL) third-quarter results were a mixed bag for the company, as revenues declined across the board with the exception of its cloud services.

Source: Oracle

Except for cloud, the sales decline was across the board. Total cloud revenues were up 31% while software sales declined by 5%, hardware by 11% and services by 5%. To be fair, to the company, things don’t look that bad when you look at the sales growth numbers on a constant-currency basis because total sales were actually up by 2%.

The main takeaway from these figures is that the company is shifting its focus from traditional hardware and software sales to cloud-related services – significantly, Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service. I’ll also show later Oracle is exploring every possible way to exploit the aggressive two-digit growth in the cloud market.

Continue reading at Seekingalpha.com where the original article was published.

Seekingalpha IBM Exclusive Interview Series 1: Inhi Cho Suh On The Future Of Analytics As A Service

A few days ago I was contacted by IBM’s (NYSE:IBM) corporate communications department and asked if I wanted to meet with some of their executives to learn more about specific areas of business, acquisition plans, strategies and key partnerships in cloud, analytics and other verticals.

After deeply considering the offer – for about half a nanosecond – I agreed.

My first interview was with Inhi Cho Suh, the newly appointed GM for Collaboration Solutions. Anyone who has seen Inhi at a conference or in a video knows that she breathes big data and analytics. Eighteen years at IBM has honed her skills to a razor’s edge, and when she speaks, you’re naturally drawn into her world of high technology.

The first interview essentially covered analytics and big data, and how IBM is revolutionizing that space by leveraging high-end applications to reach out to the small business owner as much as larger businesses and enterprises.

In the interview, Inhi passionately talks about how one small business owner starts out by “checking out” their analytics service for 15-20 minutes but spends three hours fascinated by the story of his own company and how the data he’s been sitting on is presented in such an engaging manner.

The uptake of their analytics-as-a-service was the starting point of this conversation and this article covers our discussion on this specific segment.

Continue reading at Seekingalpha.com where the Interview was published.

IBM: 2 Important Verticals To Watch

  • IBM’s rich acquisition history has now taken on two specific directions, and it’s clear where Rometty intends to take the business over the next few years.
  • These two segments are IBM’s biggest growth opportunities, and I see them catapulting the company into the future of technology in a way that will leave the competition far behind.
  • Their strategy for these two segments is a balanced one that will need aggressive movement to have any significant impact. Can they move fast enough, though?

IBM (NYSE:IBM) has been buying businesses in the craziest way possible. If you look at its acquisition history, it’s mind-boggling. For the purpose of this article, let’s take a look at how, more recently, IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty has been taking the 104-year-old giant into uncharted territories. And how IBM is trying to morph itself into a 21st Century company that can take on new-age competitors.

Rometty took over the reins of IBM in 2002. The 58-year-old current CEO and Chairwomen of IBM has been on Fortune’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for ten years in a row, and there is a very good possibility that someday we will all recognize her as the woman who reshaped IBM’s future. Though we are still a long way away from calling her the best CEO IBM ever had, she is definitely pushing IBM into new business segments, while letting go of a few.

Continue reading at Seekingalpha.com where the original article was published.

IBM Cloud: Can It Save Second Place?

  • IBM’s slow movement in the cloud space allowed Amazon to take the first-mover advantage and the lead in this segment.
  • The company’s infrastructure and business relationships are its strongest points in this area, but it needs to take control of the reins this time around.
  • Cloud application in the healthcare space is a tremendous opportunity, and the company is being proactive in this critical area.

IBM’s (NYSE:IBM) 10-year revenue chart looks downright ugly. After increasing revenue from $91.4 billion in 2006 to $106.92 billion in 2011, the IT major’s revenue has been on a downward slope, and I don’t see any signs of that slide arresting any time soon. In fact, the stock price is now near $130 – a level which the company first touched way back in 2000. So, nearly a decade and half later, the company is retracing the path it came from.

Let’s take a closer look at what happened to IBM and find out if its saving grace – its cloud business – can turn into its crown jewel.

In this article, I’ll show how IBM has the infrastructure, skill, experience and history to close the gap with the current market leader – Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Amazon Web Services (AWS) – and also the hurdles it’ll need to get over before it can see that happening.

Continue reading at Seekingalpha.com where the original article was published.

Cloud Investing: Buy The Space, Not One Company

  • Domination of the Cloud space will give that company an edge over every other technology company.
  • One has already emerged as a clear leader; another has the strong leadership and scalability to offer stiff competition.
  • Here’s why it’s a good idea for investors to put their money into an industry as a whole rather than a specific company.

Every business in the world is going to run on cloud eventually. -Sundar Pichai, CEO – Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)

The race to dominate the technology industry is underway, and has been for quite some time. Nearly every major tech player has been competing for the top spot, with each trying to outdo the rest. None have come that far yet, though two contenders are vying for pole position.

Who wins that war in the next five years will have a huge impact on the industry. As technology companies have shown time and time again, once you take the pole position in a specific tech space, no matter how many more laps are left, the rest of them can only attempt to play catchup with you.

Case in point: Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Bing and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) Search never came close to Google’s Search – and they never will.

Continue reading at Seekingalpha.com where the original article was published.