samedi 22 décembre 2012

Microsoft approuve Oracle dans sa stratégie du software in the box

NdB ; Oracle annonce un CA de 11 Milliards de $, moins de matériel vendu mais avec (beaucoup) plus de marge que ses concurrents et surtout qu'on se le dise,  Exadata, Exalogic ... comptent dans les résultats de la partie software et pas hardware. Mieux, Oracle trouve un soutien inattendu chez Microsoft ! 

Vu sur : Steve Ballmer Joins Larry Ellison as Software-Hardware Evangelist

Microsoft, for decades an iconic software company, now sees hardware as an idispensable part of its future.

At Microsoft’s recent shareholders’ meeting, Ballmer made several comments indicating he now believes that breakthrough innovation leading to superior products and performance can be achieved by tightly coupling hardware and software development from the ground up—a concept Oracle refers to as “engineered systems.”

From an article by Paul McDougall headlined Ballmer: Hardware Key to Microsoft’s Future:

“And, not that we don’t have good hardware partners, but sometimes getting the innovation right across the seam of hardware and software is difficult unless you do both of them,” Ballmer said at the meeting, held Wednesday in Bellevue, Wash.
Referring to the company’s new strategy of building its own Windows 8 tablets under the Surface brand, Ballmer said “maybe we should have done that earlier, maybe [Gates'] tablet would have shipped sooner.”
Ballmer then left little doubt that Microsoft is no longer content to be solely reliant on third-party PC manufacturers for its success. “What we’ve said to ourselves now is that there is no boundary between hardware and software that we will let build up as a kind of innovation barrier.” Pretty powerful stuff from Ballmer, whose company has ridden its software-only strategy for almost 40 years to become one of the most successful corporations in the history of American business. His perspectives are worth another look—and remember, this is Microsoft we’re talking about.Because if Microsoft is willing to bridge the gap from software into hardware, then what company on the planet can claim to be beyond such an approach? Again, here are the two points that capture the heart of Ballmer’s commitment to a radically different strategy for Microsoft:

“…there is no boundary between hardware and software that we will let build up as a kind of innovation barrier…”
“…sometimes getting the innovation right across the seam of hardware and software is difficult unless you do both of them…”

In his most straightforward comment to date on the power that comes from optimizing hardware and software from the ground up, Ballmer sounds a lot like Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who launched the the engineered-system concept about four years ago with the first version of the Oracle Exadata Database Machine.

At that time, Exadata version one used hardware made by Hewlett-Packard and the concept probably outstripped the execution. But shortly thereafter, when Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems and began to engineer new generations of extreme-performance systems that were truly built from the ground up to optimize hardware and software interactions, the engineered-system approach became a centerpiece of Oracle’s strategy.

(For more on the new Exadata X3 and the power of optimized software and hardware, please check out our recent column, Oracle’s Secret Sauce: Why Exadata Is Rocking the Tech Industry.)

And while it’s entirely true that industrial-strength Exadata machines and the Microsoft Surface tablet represent opposite ends of the enterprise-systems spectrum, there is zero debate over the engineering principle that lies at the heart of these devices that might perform very different functions but share a common heritage: both were designed to deliver new levels of power and performance to meet the rapidly escalating requirements of today’s users.

In the InformationWeek article about Ballmer’s comments, reporter McDougall also cites a recent Tweet from @MicrosoftCareers that underscores the company’s commitment to moving into hardware as a complement to its software expertise: “At @Microsoft, we’re more than just software. Come show us your Hardware Engineering talents.”

With Ballmer’s unconditional endorsement, Microsoft joins not just Oracle but also Apple in endorsing the engineered-systems approach, which Steve Jobs discussed eloquently during his final year as CEO of Apple, citing it as an indispensable element behind not only Apple’s success but also its core philosophy. You can read all about that vision of Jobs’ in my recent piece, Steve Jobs, The $60 Light Bulb, And The Future Of Technology.

Since Exadata become the fastest-growing new product in Oracle’s history over the past few years, every major IT company, whether primarily a hardware supplier or a software vendor, has fiddled around with the engineered-system concept, calling them appliances or optimized systems or something similar. But I think that Steve Ballmer’s very public and very passionate embrace of the concept—in which he didn’t just describe it as something fairly interesting but indeed said it was a key factor in driving deep-seated innovation—is going to inspire other IT companies to stop noodling around and commit fully to the engineered-systems approach.

Because they have already realized that the problems of today and tomorrow cannot be handled by the approaches of yesterday—a dramatically new approach is needed.

And at Microsoft, Steve Ballmer has decided that the new approach must ensure that “there is no boundary between hardware and software that we will let build up as a kind of innovation barrier.”

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