This piece was triggered by a couple of The Motley Fool articles regarding Microsoft's plans on Cloud Computing, SaaS and search. This is one of my favourite websites but I was disappointed with the lack of depth in these articles and the superficial content.
I think the Motley Fool should sharpen their research on the longer term strategy with Microsoft Azure. Microsoft is going to win in the cloud computing race as being one of the leading cloud computing platforms. I don't think anyone will have the dominance that Windows has in the PC market. Microsoft is going to make it possible for the existing developer community to develop, deploy and maintain cloud applications with little or no retraining.
Standards would emerge forcing the cloud computing players to provide portability across platforms. Today all the providers have emerging platforms with Amazon being the leader in the services offered. But providing utility services is not the only goal that these platform players are looking at. There is the utility/infrastructure services and then there is the Service Delivery Platform services. These two capabilities combined is a tremendous value to application developers and customers of the platforms.
On search, I don't think search quality is the issue with Microsoft search anymore. The lead Google has in the search space is due to the eco-system and network effect its search has. Indexing more web pages better and providing minor improvements to the search results is not going to be a game changer. Microsoft will have to build the network effect and that is the toughest challenge to overcome in the viral web marketing environment