Forget Windows; Microsoft is now all about the cloud


In the space of less than every week in late April, activities made one issue very clear approximately Microsoft: The agency is now pursuing a cloud-first approach, with Windows taking a returned seat. And on the way to hold as a long way into the future as the attention can see.


The first event changed into the April 26 release of Microsoft’s income report for its third fiscal sector, which ended March 31. A near appearance shows that cloud sales have ended the employer’s riding force, outpacing cash the enterprise receives from its onetime cash cow, Windows.

Precise figures on general cloud sales, as opposed to total Windows sales, don’t exist because Microsoft doesn’t wreck matters out that manner. But the income file though indicates the route in which the organization is shifting. Microsoft divides itself into 3 predominant segments: More Personal Computing, which encompasses Windows, devices, gaming, and ads; Productivity and Business Processes, which includes Office, LinkedIn, and Dynamics; and Intelligent Cloud, which consists of servers and cloud offerings. More Personal Computing sales clocked in at US$nine.25 billion, Productivity and Business at $nine.01 billion, and Intelligent Cloud at $7.Nine billion. Windows is living within the More Personal Computing section, the sales leader, but don’t allow that misinform you. A nearer look tells the actual tale.

As I stated, there’s no breakdown of Windows as opposed to the cloud. However, Microsoft did say the Azure public cloud’s revenue boomed ninety-three % 12 months over 12 months. The previous zone grew ninety-eight % 12 months over yr. And Microsoft also said that what it calls its “industrial cloud,” made of Azure, Office 365, Dynamics 365, and other cloud services, added in $6 billion in revenue within the third region, which was up fifty-eight % year over year. The More Personal Computing section becomes much less — handiest 13% 12 months over 12 months. IT chiefs urged to take steps toward the related commercial enterprise.

More from Sage

Also, the first-rate within the third quarter: Windows and Devices leader Terry Myerson left the business enterprise. You can be positive he didn’t go away because Microsoft turned to devote greater interest to Windows.

Keep in mind, additionally, that lots of Microsoft merchandise at the moment is basically cloud-based totally, so there are even extra cloud sales at the organization that first meets the attention. Microsoft Office, as an example, is increasingly a cloud provider, with the employer pushing Office 365 heavily over the consumer version of the Office suite.

The second occasion of notice got here four days after Microsoft launched its profits report when it rolled out the following primary update to Windows, the Windows 10 April 2018 Update. But this occasion becomes most amazing for being a non-occasion. Windows updates were big, exposure-heavy affairs, with Microsoft spending plenty of money and lavishing lots of love on new capabilities for the working system. But as this cutting-edge update suggests, the one’s days are over. The update itself becomes underwhelming, with only one new function of any word. It’s known as Timeline, and it lets you overview files and apps you’ve been using during the last month and resume sports you had earlier undertaken. But Timeline is half-baked, as it only works with Microsoft applications. As for publicity, there was practically none, apart from a low-key blog submit using Yusuf Mehdi, company vice chairman of the Windows and Devices Group.

Beyond that, Windows has essentially grown to be a cloud provider. Gone are the days of huge-bang releases that want to be established from physical media. Now while you get Windows 10 on a new PC, it auto-updates over the cloud. Think of it as cloud-primarily based Windows as a provider.


There are masses greater evidence that Windows is taking a back seat to the cloud across the agency. In mid-April, Microsoft announced its Azure Sphere platform for connecting internet of factors (IoT) gadgets to the cloud. That platform isn’t based on Windows, however alternatively on — take a deep breath, antique-faculty Microsoft genuine believers — the open-supply Linux working system. Azure Sphere, Microsoft says, is to be had without cost to any company that makes IoT controllers. And Microsoft added in a weblog submit; it’s also “open to additional software program innovation with the aid of the open-source community and open to working with any cloud. In short, it represents a vital new step for Microsoft with the aid of integrating innovation across each issue of generation and using working with each a part of the generation surroundings, consisting of our competition.”

That could have been heresy inside some distance-off days whilst Bill Gates ran the company, and even in the more current instances when Steve Ballmer turned into at the helm. Under each leader, Windows changed into the blunt-pressure hammer used to destroy the opposition. But the one’s days are long gone. Competitors do not worry about Windows. And so Microsoft is rebuilding the agency to be cloud-first, turning Windows into simply some other cloud-based carrier. It’s the right component to do, no longer only for customers but for the company to thrive as well.