Microsoft unveils fall enterprise/cloud roadmap, offers Azure discounts

|About: Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)|By:, SA News Editor

Microsoft (MSFT) Cloud & Enterprise chief Satya Nadella has unveiled the software giant's fall roadmap for the businesses that (before the reorg) made up its Server & Tools unit. Not surprisingly, cloud services are showcased early and often.

Among the products launching this fall: New versions of Microsoft's Dynamics CRM and supply-chain software; refreshes for the Visual Studio and .NET software development platforms; updates to Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012; a version of Windows Azure meant for government clients; and a service launched in partnership with Equinix (EQIX) that allows users of Equinix's data centers to directly connect to Azure.

Like peers, Microsoft is giving priority to big data/analytics features. The company promises its SQL Server 2014 database will offer big improvements in transaction processing speed, so as to better compete with in-memory databases from SAP and Oracle. it's also launching an Azure service based on the Hadoop big data framework for integrating cloud data into visualizations.

Meanwhile, Azure discounts are being provided for enterprise volume license customers, as Microsoft continues squaring off against Amazon,VMware, and others in a cloud infrastructure market seeing intense price competition. Nadella asserts Microsoft's enterprise software lineup gives Azure an edge over rivals in enabling hybrid clouds.

Server & Tools had an $8.2B FY13 op. profit, +13% Y/Y. That was still well below the $16.2B reported for the Office division (+2%), but close to the $9.5B reported for the Windows division (-18%, hurt by PC weakness and a $900M Surface RT write-down).