Michael van Dijken on Microsoft SaaS and Windows Server 2008

I had the pleasure last week of interviewing Michael van Dijken, head of Microsoft's marketing efforts in the hosting and communications sectors, while at the SaaS Summit 2008 conference in San Francisco.

Michael had just returned from the heady launch of Microsoft Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008. Launching all three of those product upgrades is the culmination of a lot of work on Microsoft's part and even though not all the software is shipping yet, a lot of effort has been put into getting to this point.

Michael agreed to do a different kind of interview with me, a micro-podcast interview. What I've done is carve up sections of the recorded interview with Michael into into individual topics. You can chose to listen to one, multiple or all sections of the interview, in the order that interests you. And if you wish, you can listen to the entire interview, end-to-end, by clicking on the player at the bottom of this post. Keep in mind the interview was conducted in the press room at the conference so you'll hear plenty of talking in the background.

Michael is part of the Microsoft organization that supports network providers, media and entertainment companies, and service provider (hosting services) types of companies. Michael's focus is on the hosting providers. Here's Michael's explanation of how he fits into the complex organization landscape of Microsoft.

Next, Michael and I talk about why Microsoft chose to be a big sponsor of the SaaS Summit 2008 conference.

Now we get to a favorite question of mine; why does Microsoft chose to go their own way by using the term "software plus services" rather than SaaS, or software-as-a-service.

I think in part why Microsoft uses this term is because it's broader, non-delivery method specific context. Michael next talks a bit about the ecosystem of the SaaS marketplace.

Next we talk about Microsoft's SaaS Incubation Center Partners program.

The companies participating in this program include; 7global, Affinity, Attenda, CSC, NaviSite, NTT Europe Online, OpSource, PEER 1, PIRONET NDH, Siennax, Verizon Business and Wizmo.

With the Windows Server 2008 announcement last week, Michael gives us insight into some of the special capabilities built into Server 2008 that supports much greater site density, how PHP and ASP environments can coexist, and inter-operate on the same server and improved manageability.

Now for the fun question about open source. How does Windows Server 2008 and Michael's efforts help Microsoft compete with the dominate use of Linux and open source software in the SaaS market.

I'm not sure I can buy into Michael's explanation, though I give him credit for giving my question a shot.

Not that Michael needs my help answering the question, but I think the net of Michael's answer is that if you are using Microsoft technologies, these new product upgrades help existing Microsoft customers continue to move their software and servers to SaaS offerings.

I think I kind of surprised Michael (unintentionally) with my next about Microsoft opening up and publishing its document and other inter-operating protocols.

And that concludes my interview with Michael van Dijken of Microsoft. I hope that gives you some insight into how Microsoft is supporting the efforts of companies in the software-as-a-service segment of our industry.

Summary

What I took away from my interview with Michael is that Microsoft is making a concerted effort to support SaaS vendors who can potentially make a substantial dent by increasing the use of Microsoft products in the the SaaS industry. Microsoft has also added features in Windows Server 2008 specifically around increasing density and improving server management for hosting and SaaS vendors.

This week's announcement of Microsoft Online Services for Exchange 2007 and SharePoint 2007 is another of Microsoft's moves to play a larger role and not hand the online world over to Google or Linux. But lets face it. Microsoft has a long, long way to go because as I see it, Linux and open source dominate the SaaS industry, while Google owns the online app space for office applications, at least for the moment.

If you'd like to hear the interview in it's entirety, listen to it on the following player. You can also check out Michael van Dijken's blog.

About this format: Let me know what you think about this format of breaking up interviews into smaller micro-podcast segments. You can email me feedback or post it here as a comment. Thanks!

Like this? Here are some of Mitchell's recent posts.

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Check out Mitchell's Converging On Microsoft Podcast. Also visit Mitchell's personal blog The Converging Network and SSAATY Podcast. Visit Microsoft Subnet for more news, blogs, opinion from around the Web. Sign up for the bi-weekly Microsoft newsletter. (Click on News/Microsoft News Alert.)
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