Best Practices 2006: Five Microsoft moves that mattered

It may be the dominant force in the IT industry, but in 2006 Microsoft learned it can’t survive on its own.

Most industry observers will probably remember this as the year Microsoft launched its most ambitious product rollout yet, including updated versions of its desktop operating system, its e-mail platform, office suite and browser. Products, however, are only one piece of the puzzle. Microsoft also aligned itself with like-minded firms – some of them rivals, some of them friends – in a series of move that may give a much better sense of its long-term strategy.

A few of Microsoft’s earlier attempts at partnership, like its identity management deal with Sun, seemed to make little progress, old alliances seemed to rupture. This was particularly the case with Symantec and McAfee, which accused Microsoft of withholding key product information they need to develop protection.

As part of our year in review, weeded through the arcane acquisitions and slew of minor announcements to pinpoint the five Microsoft partnerships that mattered in 2006, and which may become even more important in 2007.

HP: The enterprise BFF
Microsoft and HP have always worked together, but a recent announcement on joint product development could create a major competitive threat against other Microsoft-friendly OEMs, including IBM and Dell.
Microsoft, HP to spend US$300M on joint products
The two firms make a three-year commitment to focus on enterprise customers in areas that include BI, infrastructure and unified messaging. Execs talk about why Nortel could make it a threesome

SAP: The supply chain sweetheart
Microsoft and SAP announced a plan to work more closely together several years ago, but 2006 was the first sign it was coming to fruition. Although it’s early days yet, SAP rivals such as Oracle may have to work harder to convince companies to choose Linux over Windows when users can access ERP data on the world’s most popular e-mail client.
SAP, Microsoft sing a Duet
Companies will release software in weeks allowing Outlook to be front end to mySAP

Novell: The nemesis turned neighbour
As this week’s IT Business Out Loud demonstrated, the relationship between the proprietary pusher and the open source opportunist is getting off to a rocky start.
Microsoft partners with Novell on open source issues
In what they described as a bridge between two worlds, the companies said they will explore solutions around virtualization, document formats and systems management. HP and Goldman Sachs comment on the enterprise impact
Editorial: When Ballmer met Suse
What if MS had acknowledged that Linux actually works years ago?

Palm: The portable pal
Microsoft needs Pocket PC to succeed, and Palm needs to prove it can out-BlackBerry Research In Motion and a host of other players in the handheld space. This could be the most inter-dependent of Microsoft’s partnerships.
Palm and Microsoft: Once competitors, now partners
Treo 700wx shows vendors’ efforts to expand options around OS
The Top 25 Newsmakers of 2006 -Number 13: Palm Michael Moskowitz
Palm’s top executive in Canada had to figure out how to make the Microsoft partnership work here

Nortel: The cabling comrade
Although Microsoft has its own partnership in place with Cisco, its deal with Canada’s best known technology company gave new CEO Mike Zafirovsky instant credibility and suggested Microsoft will have a more well-rounded offering for the enterprise.
Microsoft partnership could bring Nortel $1 billion
The two firms form an alliance that will focus on unified communications and the convergence of PCs, phones and PDAs. Steve Ballmer discusses the possibilities
Editorial: All together now . . .
So-called unified messaging may finally come to fruition with the latest from Microsoft


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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