Price slashing and retail are all part of Microsoft's Cloud strategy

Price slashing and retail are all part of Microsoft’s Cloud strategy

Microsoft is looking at a number of ways to maintain and grow its share of the personal cloud, one option being a second attempt to establish a retail front similar to that of Apple. The software giant set up a shop in San Francisco 11 years ago, a small-scale experiment that got axed a couple years later.

This time however, COO Kevin Turner said at the Worldwide Partner Conference that his company is getting much more serious with its efforts. Microsoft will be opening 75 new outletsthroughout the U.S in the next two to three years.

“It’s helping us to transition from thinking about our customers to thinking like our customers. And giving us that direct customer feedback is what we’re learning and getting from our stores,” said Turner.

Microsoft is also pushing Windows Phone7, and in more ways than one. Its partnership with Nokia will help it to, among other things, offering cheaper smartphones than the competition. The Finnish phone-maker, after all, achieves greater cost efficiency than most manufacturers, which is the reason it has gained a tremendous amount of market share in developing nations. This, along with the ever-decreasing smartphone prices, is what makes Microsoft’s Andrew Lees think that a WP7 could sell as cheap as $100 to $150 next year.

Another cloud product Microsoft is putting a lot of effort into is Office 365.  O365 is the less pricey SaaS version of the popular productivity software, and it’s already gaining partners and support.  Bloomberg announced integration of its Bloomberg Vault IT compliance offering with Office 365, while Logitech optimized its enterprise webcams and headsets for the service.

O365 has a lot of potential, but it’s not the only reason Microsoft managed to attracted so many partners. The company is investing a lot in this field, and will do the same in 2012. Microsoft channel chief Jon Roskill said at the Worldwide Partner Conference that his company will spend $5.8 billion in this field during fiscal year 2012. The software maker has another topic to tackle, though – being green. Its datacenters’ diesel-powered backup generators have been raising concerns in Quincy, Washington.  Hopefully some of that earmarked cash will go towards green tech, a growing concern for data centers across the world.

Post originally written by Maria Deutscher for SiliconAngle and reposted here with permission