Did anyone really expect Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) to sit idly quiet while rival VMware (NYSE: VMW) talked up its new hybrid cloud services unit, a major turn in focus for the virtualization kingpin?

VMware’s new hybrid cloud offering will allow its customers to migrate their cloud services to a public cloud, saving money in the move through shared equipment. It’s a big deal for VMware--customers will be able to use a common management, orchestration, networking and security model without changing existing applications and can move workloads back and forth if they choose.

The drawback, of course, is that it doesn’t support OpenStack, so customers will have a hard time switching cloud service providers, a criticism VMware has countered by saying its hybrid cloud service is mainly for existing customers. Microsoft, in addition to Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Rackspace (NYSE: RAX), provide public and private cloud offerings irrespective of customer status.

It didn’t take long for Microsoft to pounce on VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Service. Amy Barzdukas, Microsoft Server and Tools marketing general manager, in a blog posted the same day as VMware’s announcement derided the offering as “yet another zig in their already zig-zaggy set of strategy meets tactics meets marketing buzzwords” and “just another example of how IT vendors have been rearranging the furniture to more effectively deliver what they already have on the shelf.”

Noting that VMware hasn’t said whose infrastructure its hybrid cloud service will run on--other than to say that it will make it available through its existing channel partners--and hasn’t specified rollout dates or prices, Barzdukas levied a hefty dose of criticism at VMware for confusing the market about its public cloud proficiency.

“But if I were a VMware customer, I’d be asking myself, do I really want to place my bets--and the future of my IT department--on a vendor that can’t decide what it wants to be as the cloud grows up?” she wrote.

Wait, there’s more … One day later, in a subsequent blog post, Barzdukas poured it on: “I’m scratching my head: Is their VMware-branded service something they run, or a partner play?...Contributing to the confusion are the VMware statements about providing customers with 'the benefits of the public cloud' countered with the statement that when customers are ready they can 'select the VMware Service Provider that meets your specific requirements, with a choice of hundreds of the best brands in IaaS.'”

Keep in mind that Microsoft usually gets more vocal the more it perceives the need to defend its territory. In this case, were that so, Microsoft may be less concerned about VMware’s current level of public cloud expertise and more about how much proficiency the “virt vendor,” as Barzdukas referred to VMware, can command to run large-scale public cloud services.