2012 Channel Champions: Cloud Applications

Microsoft is moving fast within the cloud space, garnering the top score in Cloud Applications, edging out VMware and Oracle. The vendor won the support satisfaction and financial factors subcategories, but lost technical satisfaction to second-place VMware.

Microsoft earned high scores in each of the support criteria, especially presales and postsales support, and evaluation and demo equipment policies, education and enablement. The software giant also outperformed the competition in the financial factors subcategory with high scores in competitive pricing, and product margins, SPIFs and rebates.

However, VMware captured first place in the technical satisfaction subcategory, with high scores in product quality and reliability, price for performance, multicustomer support, and management and configuration features. It lost the scalability criterion to Microsoft by less than half a percentage point.

Jenni Flinders, vice president of the U.S. Partner Group at Microsoft, said in a statement that the company has helped partners "understand the business transformation necessary to capitalize on the channel opportunities, including the cloud."

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"In the last year, we were able to effectively communicate with our partners around cloud computing. Cloud is our greatest challenge and is also our greatest opportunity," Flinders said in the statement.

"Our partners' customers do not necessarily talk about or recognize 'the cloud;' they're interested in being 'faster,' 'better' or 'more cost-effective,' and the cloud is the way to make any of those things a reality,"she stated.

David Geevaratne, president of New Signature, a Washington, D.C.-based Microsoft partner and cloud provider of Office 365 services, Windows Intune and Azure, said he is a strong supporter of Microsoft's cloud services.

"Our sales continue to go up as people realize that accessing the Microsoft cloud helps them become more efficient at delivering IT-as-a-Service," said Geevaratne.