Opinions mixed on whether Microsoft should have shook up Azure in re-org

Should Microsoft have done more to shake up the Azure group as part of its recent reorganization? That’s the question spurred by consultant David Linthicum’s InfoWorld piece yesterday. It seems that opinions on the matter are across the board.

“I just don’t see the innovation out of Microsoft that I think people who are Microsoft shops are looking for,” Linthicum told me during a short conversation on the subject. He added that those Microsoft shops are his clients and that they’re disappointed that Microsoft is still playing catch up to Amazon Web Services with its infrastructure service.

Given that he feels Microsoft is behind the curve, Linthicum thinks a shake up as part of the recently announced Microsoft reorg might have helped. “I’d love to see them hire from the outside, steal people from Amazon or innovators and leaders in the startup space. Maybe go off and buy startups. But they don’t seem to be doing that,” Linthicum said.

Indeed, Microsoft confirmed that the reorg did not impact Azure, at least in terms of reporting structure. Satya Nadella, who was president of the Server and Tools group, which encompassed Azure, will still oversee Azure. The current development, test and program management leadership remains in place, the company said.

That’s a problem, given that Microsoft is an old-school company, Linthicum said. “Microsoft has a problem, VMware has a problem. It’s a tough thing to be such an old company with an established culture and try to change the company to be more innovative,” he said.

Still, there's plenty of evidence that Azure is doing quite well. Forrester Research put Azure as number two after surveying developers about their cloud service usage. Plus, just a couple months ago Microsoft reported that Azure annual sales had reached $1 billion. If the service is that far behind, companies are still signing up to use it.

Reactions to Linthicum’s comments are mixed. Mark Eisenberg, another consultant and one who used to work on the Azure team, seems to feel that Azure is humming along nicely. “The reports of Azure’s death are greatly exaggerated,” he said.

Comments on Linthicum’s InfoWorld piece are split. One points to Azure sales as evidence that it’s doing well and another called Azure quite mature.

But others agreed. “A proprietary platform provided by a single-source vendor. No easy way out of that one,” Zman58 wrote.

What do you think?

Read more of Nancy Gohring's "To the Cloud" blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @ngohring and on Google+. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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