Gameplay - customer isolation

gameplay
theory
#1

Players:
Amazon & Microsoft

Situation:
Microsoft would like to take on the Amazon Cloud and get a bigger share of the cake. By definition, this is difficult because customers do not care for utility vendors, and Amazon does an excellent job neutralising (if not leading in many cases) any technical, competitive advantage of other players.

Mapping Theory:
Mature components can be easily switched if customers no longer see them.

Game Play:

  • The trick is to isolate customers from the cloud provider, make the cloud an invisible component. Right now, customers directly set up cloud accounts (1 on the map below), and use them to deploy and run the code.
  • Sustaining a technical advantage for a time long enough to win customers does not look like a possible and economically viable solution.
  • It is too late to do a multi-cloud intermediary solution, mainly associated with one provider. Additional abstraction layer will always lag (in terms of functionality) behind the leading provider that exploits the ecosystem.
  • The only way forward here is to capture customers attention earlier before they reach the cloud provider.
  • GitHub (code repository) is by far the biggest, central component gathering software developers. For many companies, this is the tool that is being used before the real code is written, and developers are exposed to it more often than to actual cloud.
  • Making it possible for a developer to spin software directly from a software repository, in a way standardised by the repository provider, removes the developer burden. It can reduce it even more if the billing is associated with a software repository. In the end, the developer will probably have no idea who will run the software, and where runtime fees are passed. That will open a unique opportunity for the Microsoft to switch cloud providers as it finds convenient (and guess whose cloud will be the most convenient).

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Mapping Glossary
#2

I think there’s another longer-term play linked to this, the huge Microsoft customer base. Not only do sales have customers to focus on, there’s an opportunity to engineer an on-premise to Azure path by offering user-friendly and efficient migration tools - possibly as a loss-leader. Simple affordable cloud migration would be attractive to SMEs. Deep GitHub integration now makes Azure a compelling proposition?

#3

I agree, albeit I discount the size of the customer base because I think they are mostly the OS/Office users. I would expect the dev community to be much smaller and already adopting Azure. I would also expect that MSFT is trying to win back all those developers that migrated to MacOS (and to a smaller extent to Linux) over the past 10 years.

I am not sure if ‘compelling’ is a right word, I’d use the word ‘sly’ :smiley: . The point is that this feature will go under the radar of many developers who will find it to be just useful shortcut without significant meaning.

On the other hand, you are right. A deeper integration may become a thing that MSFT will advertise on. I have no idea whether it will play as expect. It may just put people off Github…