Last week we saw IBM (IBM) publish an open call to big cloud computing players to make their components work together… and Microsoft (MSFT) retort that IBM has no basis to speak on behalf of the industry.
But the two rivals are both in New York and under the same roof at the Cloud Computing Expo, and together they’re making peace over the issue, or at least agreeing to a cease-fire.
In a tersely worded statement that reminds us of something coming out of a Cold War summit on a battleship, IBM and Microsoft (along with Intel and Cisco) agreed in principle to the idea that “interoperability” — IBM’s desire to see different clouds work together — is as a good thing. They also said that cloud computing should have its own trade association or marketing group to work towards those ends, and that everyone should be invited.
Still no word from Amazon (AMZN) or Google (GOOG), both of whom also snubbed IBM’s ‘open cloud’ call. That Amazon doesn’t appear in the statement is surprising, actually, as Amazon cloud guru Werner Vogels keynoted the Expo where IBM and Microsoft reps had their parlay.
The whole brouhaha over the so-called “open cloud manifesto” seems a little silly, and Microsoft’s objection to it seems to stem more from an unwillingness to allow IBM to be seen as an industry leader than any actual objection to IBM’s vision.
But an open battle between the two giants is bad for both — so the tentative peace between them is a good thing. And it’s a win for cloud users as well: “Vendor lock-in” is a legitimate fear, and no Azure customer wants to see Microsoft go down that road.
The joint statement:
Representatives of CCIF, CloudCamp, Cisco, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and the IEEE-ISTO met while attending the Cloud Computing Expo in New York. Other companies were invited but were unable to attend, generally due to the short notice. The companies agreed on a shared goal to promote use and awareness of open and interoperable cloud computing. The group brainstormed several ideas including the possibility to build on the momentum created by CloudCamp. Another topic was the ability to enable participants, from individuals and companies, both large and small, to be able to contribute to and use the results of broad community collaboration. Additionally, the possibility of a trade association or marketing association for cloud computing was discussed but no specific actions were agreed. The final topic was the need to have broader participation from the community in this discussion