Microsoft Has More To Do Even As It Is Well-Positioned To Beat Amazon In The Cloud, Says Ex-CEO Ballmer

Microsoft will have “a lot of work to do”, even though the company is in a good position to take on Amazon in cloud computing, ex-Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said in a TV interview on Tuesday.

The competition against Amazon Web Services will be tough for Microsoft, even though the U.S. technology giant has strong products in Azure and Office 365, said the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team during the interview.  

“I think the company is well-positioned, on the other hand (there is) a lot of work to do. I think that on the cloud side with Office 365 and Azure, the company’s got a real shot but not a birth right, they are going to have to push very hard with Azure versus Amazon Web Services,” Ballmer said.

While Amazon is a direct competitor to Azure, it is Google who could challenge Microsoft’s Office 365 product, said Ballmer, who served as Microsoft CEO between 2000 and 2014.

“With Amazon Web Services, Azure is the challenger, it has only one way to go which is up. With Office 365 there is more upside than downside and that’s a Google risk,” Ballmer said.

Microsoft’s cloud division is an area current CEO Satya Nadella has flagged up as the company’s future as this area of business has been growing fairly strongly in recent years. During the fiscal second quarter, Microsoft’s cloud business brought in $6.86 billion in revenue. There was a 93 per cent rise in the revenues of Azure.

The U.S. technology giant has announced its next games console called Xbox Scorpio and is pioneering new product categories like the 2-in-1 tablet called Surface as the company has also been focusing on hardware. The hardware division has “progressed nicely” and he was “most pleased” with the progress in the Surface line of products, Ballmer said.

While he did not reveal how many shares he holds, Ballmer is still a major shareholder at Microsoft. The current stock price of Microsoft shares has seen a more than 17 percent rise in the past 12 months and he is “delighted” at the current price of the stock which is trading over $65 per share, he however said.

Without giving specific details, to help with his philanthropic work, he had made “some adjustments” to his holding of Microsoft last year, Ballmer revealed.

In order to give product feedback, he keeps in touch with current Microsoft boss Nadella, the former CEO also revealed.

“I’ll fire off essentially product feedback to him … If we are seeing something that doesn’t seem right to us in Skype or one of the other products, I’ll drop him a note,” Ballmer told CNBC.

(Adapted from CNBC)

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