Microsoft Is Beating Google For Big Cloud Deals Because It’s Hungrier

Steve Ballmer
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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When Microsoft launched Office 365 in the spring of 2011, pundits saw it as a desperation move to fend off Google Apps. And it was.But that desperation has become the very thing helping Microsoft win over customers, some customers say.

Over the past few weeks, Microsoft has announced one big Office 365 deal after another: 15,000 seats for the Santa Clara county government (right in Google’s backyard), 25,000 seats for the EPA, and the granddaddy deal of them all, 200,000 seats for Toyota. (A “seat” in enterprise deals roughly translates to a licence for a corporate employee.)

Plus, Toyota has partnered with Microsoft for the car maker’s all-important in-vehicle computing platform, Toyota Entune, which runs on Microsoft’s application-hosting cloud, Azure. Entune adds apps to cars such as navigation using Bing Maps and lets drivers do voice-controlled, hands-free tasks like making phone calls.

Toyota chose Microsoft because it was the only company both “big enough to scale globally” and hungry for the business, says Zack Hicks, Toyota’s top technology executive in North America.

“I think Windows Vista might have been a humbling experience for them,” Hicks said. “I find them to be very open, very eager. The competition has heated up with Microsoft in the market. I find a better level of cooperation than I get with other vendors.”

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