Microsoft's week revolved around its large cloud contracts and updates to its Windows Phone 7 app-submission and payment schedules.
week was all about the cloud and Windows Phone 7.
the Windows Phone 7 side of things, Microsoft
announced this week that it would adjust its schedule of payouts to Windows
Phone 7 developers
, moving up its timetable from February to January. This
could have been in response to rising developer complaints about payout timing
for their apps.
Dec. 9, Microsoft also started offering a "Report" link through
Windows Phone 7's app-submission platform, App Hub, with current download and
transaction reporting information for apps and games. The two types of reports
include Download Reports, which offer a graphical view of daily and cumulative
downloads, and Payout Reports, with payout data for all Marketplace
reporting features include the ability for you to create custom views and apply
filters," reads a Dec. 9 posting by Todd Brix on The
Windows Phone Developer Blog
, "providing the flexibility to see app
performance data the way you want to help make app development and business
decisions. Reports can be filtered by date, country and application."
January 2011, Microsoft plans on processing developer payouts on a monthly
basis, for both Windows Phone 6.x and Windows Phone 7 apps. The company has
also tweaked certain elements of the app registration and submission process.
Microsoft wants to build a robust app ecosystem to compete with similar
offerings from Apple and Google, it needs to actively court third-party
developers traditionally responsible for the bulk of application storefronts'
offerings. In order to increase Windows Phone 7's appeal, Microsoft recently
introduced a way to create apps using Visual Basic. On the consumer side of the
equation, Microsoft hopes those apps, in conjunction with Windows Phone 7's
unique user interface, will attract those users who would otherwise gravitate
toward either the iPhone or a Google Android smartphone.
the meantime, though, Microsoft also seems reluctant to share any sales numbers
for Windows Phone 7 devices, which launched in the U.S.
market in early November. During a Dec. 7 conversation with Walt Mossberg at
the D: Dive Into Mobile conference in San Francisco, Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's
corporate vice president and director of Windows Phone Program Management,
declined to offer any hard data along those lines.
not talking about numbers yet," he told Mossberg, according
to a rough transcript posted on All Things Digital, which runs the conference.
"It's just too soon to talk about numbers."
Microsoft continued to amp its aggressiveness in the cloud context.
company's "all in" cloud strategy involves convincing governments and
industry that it can provide everything necessary for their cloud-computing
needs: online applications and storage, redundancy, and security. Government
contracts play a particularly large role in that strategy, and Microsoft has
pursued them with a vengeance: In October, for example, New York City Mayor
Michael Bloomberg and Microsoft CEO Steve
Ballmer announced a partnership that would bring the BPOS platform to around
30,000 city employees.
Microsoft also finds itself up against Google, which is pursuing many of the
same contracts in its bid to expand revenue streams beyond search and
advertising, and cloud-software companies like Salesforce.com.
Dec. 8, Microsoft
used its corporate Website to tout its cloud contract for the United States
Department of Agriculture's Enterprise Messaging Service (EMS)
, which includes
e-mail, Web conferencing, instant messaging and document collaboration
an enterprise of USDA's size and complexity from multiple environments, across
multiple agencies, requires not only a trusted enterprise-ready solution, but
also a partner that is able to work with us and navigate everything from
archiving to authentication to mobile phone support," Chris Smith, chief
information officer at USDA, wrote in a Dec. 8 statement.
the terms of the USDA's contract with Dell for Microsoft Online Services, some
120,000 users across 21 e-mail systems will migrate to the consolidated cloud
platform. The shift to the new system is scheduled to begin within the next
announcement came days after Google announced a contract to provide Gmail and
Google Apps to the General Services Administration, and the timing illustrates
the increasingly tit-for-tat nature of the two companies' conflict over cloud
contracts. In November, Google used the federal government, alleging that the
Department of the Interior had unfairly restricted its bid to update its e-mail
and messaging system. Microsoft's BPOS-Federal suite eventually won that
contract, estimated at $59 million over a five-year cycle.
this past week also took a swipe at Salesforce.com. In "An Open Letter to
Salesforce.com Customers," timed for the start of Salesforce's annual
Dreamforce conference, the company dangled a $200-per-user rebate for any
organization that switches from Salesforce to Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Dreamforce, Salesforce unveiled products such as Database.com, its
new stand-alone cloud database for IT pros creating applications
heightens the cloud-software company's competition with Microsoft and its SQL
Azure cloud-database service.
mid-2010, Microsoft and Salesforce filed a series of intellectual-property
lawsuits against one another, a battle that eventually ended in August when
Salesforce agreed to compensate Microsoft for its patents. But Salesforce.com CEO
Marc Benioff nonetheless enjoys poking at his rival in public speeches.