What keeps Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer up at night? A few years ago, the answer likely involved Linux, Red Hat, MySQL and other disruptive open source upstarts. Now fast forward to this year's Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC10), and there's nary a mention of open source here at the event. Why's that? Three answers: Google, VMware and the cloud. Here's some perspective from The VAR Guy.

Earlier this evening, The VAR Guy attended a briefing about Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) 14, a forthcoming upgrade to Microsoft's unified communications platform. During a panel discussion, six Microsoft partners essentially dismissed competitive threats from Asterisk -- the open source IP PBX. The reason: The partners claim Microsoft's API (Application Programming Interface) and software development tools for OCS 14 easily beat alternatives in the Asterisk market.

Meanwhile, Microsoft held additional partner meetings down the hall. Key topics for discussion included:
  • Competing against VMware and beating vSphere virtualization in the market
  • Competing against Google and beating Google Apps in the market
No doubt, new Microsoft Channel Chief Jon Roskill wants partners to compete and succeed in the cloud. Plua, beating Google Apps at all costs seems to be a top priority for Ballmer. And promoting Microsoft Hyper-V against VMware is a key piece of Microsoft's All In cloud strategy.

Does Ballmer still worry about open source? Certainly yes. But there doesn't seem to be any signs of open source-related panic here at WPC10. Microsoft's latest targets for termination are Google Apps and VMware. Long Live Open Source...

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