Microsoft The Redmond, Wash. software maker and Chinese tech giant Huawei announced Sept. 5 that they had formed strategic partnership that will bring more of Microsoft's enterprise applications to the Huawei cloud ecosystem.
The companies signed a memorandum of understanding, an early step in establishing the partnership, during a ceremony at the Huawei Connect 2017 conference in Shanghai, China. Huawei already serves up some Microsoft products on its cloud, including Windows Server and a relational database service that supports SQL Server. In a Sept. 5 media advisory, Huawei said the expanded partnership will "bring more Microsoft enterprise-level products online."
Alain Crozier, CEO of Microsoft China, echoed his company's focus on helping to make digital transformation-enabling technologies more accessible to businesses.
"The fourth industrial revolution, driven by technology innovation, is creating opportunities for customers to achieve more across nearly every industry," he said in a statement. "As a global leader in enterprise IT, Huawei is a strategic partner for Microsoft in the mission to empower organizations as they transform."
However, the partnership is not without risks, cautioned Marty Puranik, CEO of cloud hosting provider Atlantic.Net. Puranik said that hardware makers such as Huawei—which is best known for manufacturing networking products, smartphones and other devices—have a spotty track record when it comes to sustaining a successful cloud business. "The partnership is interesting, because Huawei is traditionally a hardware maker that competed with Cisco," Puranik told eWEEK in email remarks.
"Cisco tried 'intercloud' which was something like this, but failed. So it will be interesting to see if this succeeds. Other hardware makers like HP also tried doing public cloud and failed, so traditional hardware makers have not had success in doing this," Puranik wrote, noting that the skills used in hardware manufacturing often don't translate well into the realm of the public cloud.
There's a bit more upside for the Microsoft half of the partnership, Puranik predicted.
"Huawei will have a big footprint in China, and obviously gets Microsoft penetration inside of a huge market (and inside the great firewall). So Huawei could be a great partner," he said. "This is a win for Microsoft to help reach more enterprise-level customers in China."
Still, there remains some uncertainty. The memorandum of understanding is an initial step in formalizing the partnership, meaning that it may take some time before additional Microsoft products show up on Huawei's cloud, said Puranik.
Microsoft, meanwhile, already enjoys a big lead in the worldwide cloud application market.
Last week, Synergy Research Group released its latest analysis of the software-as-a-service market, stating that Microsoft is well ahead of its rivals. The analyst firm credited the software giant's $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn as part of the reason it has been able to fend off Salesforce, Adobe, Oracle, SAP and other cloud software providers.