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110 Reasons Microsoft’s Cloud Efforts Don’t Hold Up

1. The Billing IssueWith Microsoft’s upcoming launch of Office 365, the company plans to bill end customers directly. For those in the channel, that’s an issue, and an issue that could thwart widespread adoption of the technology. Channel partners are extremely important to Microsoft.

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2. Is Office 365 Really Worth It?Speaking of Office 365, Microsoft will need to persuade enterprise customers that the offering is really worth it. So far, Microsoft hasn’t done enough to tout the offering, which brings the Office suite to the cloud for companies. Moreover, many of those firms are already heavily invested in offline versions. Office 365 seems fine, but is it necessary?

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3. Hotmail Isn’t An AlternativeIn a blog post following Apple’s announcement of iCloud, Microsoft said that it can do everything that Apple’s platform does. And one of the ways it achieves that, it says, is by offering Hotmail to customers. Hotmail isn’t an alternative to iCloud. Yes, it brings e-mail to the Web, but iCloud works by syncing content across devices. It’s an apples and oranges comparison, so to speak.

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4. Microsoft Must Do More With SkyDriveIn the same blog post where Microsoft was touting Hotmail, the company pointed to Live SkyDrive as a viable alternative to iCloud. That comparison makes more sense, but it still doesn’t hold up all that well. SkyDrive is a fine place for users to backup content to the cloud, but it doesn’t deliver the same hands-off approach that Apple is bringing to iCloud. That’s an important consideration in all of this.

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5. Multi-Platform Support Is ImportantIf there is anything that Microsoft should learn from Apple’s iCloud offering, it’s that multi-platform support is critical to the future viability of a cloud service. SkyDrive does a fine job of delivering multi-platform support, thanks to its Windows, Mac, and Windows Phone integration, but it (and Microsoft’s other services) need to go further. Google’s Android platform might be a competitor, but it must be supported in all of Microsoft’s cloud services. The same can be said for iOS. The days of exclusivity are gone.

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6. The Mobile IssueMicrosoft is trying its best to make cloud services augment its mobile platform, Windows Phone 7. However, that platform still falls short in many ways. Apple’s iCloud, on the other hand, will integrate with iOS, one of the top mobile platforms available. If Microsoft really wants a more well-rounded cloud service, bolstering its mobile viability is extremely important.

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7. A Single Solution Is BestMicrosoft offers several solutions for consumers and enterprise customers. And when taken together, the company does have potentially worthwhile alternatives. However, they don’t all come in a single, easy-to-use pane, like iCloud. Apple understands simplicity. Microsoft, on the other hand, makes things more difficult.

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8. Business Productivity Online Services Is Rough Around the EdgesMicrosoft’s Business Productivity Online Services are a fine step as the software giant tries to bring cloud computing to the enterprise. But the offering is a bit rough around the edges. For one, it can be quite expensive at $10 per user per month with a minimum of five users. Moreover, the offering delivers Web-based solutions that customers might not find so much value in. Microsoft is almost there with Business Productivity Online Services, but it needs to go further.

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9. The Promotion Is OffIf one were to poll the average consumer to find out what kind of cloud services Microsoft offers, it’s doubtful that many of them would have a solid grip on Microsoft’s solutions. The reason for that is simple: Microsoft hasn’t done enough to promote its platforms. The company spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year promoting Windows and Office, but at what point does Microsoft start to realize that investing in the cloud is extremely important to its future?

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10. The Competition Is MountingAs Microsoft looks around at the competitive landscape, it finds something rather concerning in the marketplace: a slew of competitors. Granted, Microsoft has been capitalizing on the growth of cloud computing for a while, and it has several solutions available to users. But as consumers start thinking seriously about which services they will want to use, Microsoft’s might not look as worthwhile as the company would like. With more competition comes more threat. And Microsoft is learning that quite quickly.