Last week was a little humorous. Across my desk came a Forbes.com article stating that “Microsoft will win the small business cloud war”. In the article Gene Marks tells of a visit to a small town in the US where he finds Jared Morgan from Bradshaw & Weil insurance agency who (gasp!) is using Mircosoft’s BPOS suite. Marks tells the readers that Microsoft is adding more and more products to the cloud and that the cost of these products is pretty low. Microsoft doesn’t have Office in the cloud yet but,wordy me!, it’s coming (sometime in 2011 apparently).

Marks casually admits that Microsoft might have some competition in the cloud space by way of Zoho, Box.net and Google but goes on to explain that, because the Microsoft offerings allow users to work in a way that they’re accustomed to, Microsoft will continue to be the incumbent and win the war of the cloud.

Which would be fine and all, if the world wasn’t changing. Marks tells us that;

The choice will be about companies and services and who we’re going to trust with our data and our business applications.  Small business people are nervous about this.   Our data is our livelihood and losing it can put us out of business.  We’re not going to trust it to just anyone. Whatever people say about Microsoft, we know them and for the most part we trust them.

But what Marks fails to take into consideration is that Morgan (off the famed Bradshaw & Weil company) and perhaps even his older colleagues – are more than likely purchasing music on iTunes. They’re probably keeping track of their college buddies on Facebook. Hell they might even be checking in to their local Starbucks (assuming they have Starbucks in deepest darkest…) using Foursquare or Gowalla.

I’ve personally railed against the handwavers who claim the millennials will, all of a sudden, revolutionize our workforce. That assertion is offensive to older generations who are also massive users of social networking and cloud solutions, it also ails to give younger generations credit for having the ability to do what they’re told and work within constraints. I rail against the millennial argument simply because this isn’t a trend linked to millennials in isolation – it’s something we witnessing in society en masse.

Marks tells us that;

We don’t want to change.  We don’t want to learn new products to do the same things we’re already doing.  We just want to do things quicker and better.

It sounds just like the horseless carriage argument, or those who railed against the fax machine, or the telephone.

Mr Marks – the world IS changing and people wish to do things different ways and really don’t mind that in doing so they might have to move out of their comfort zone especially not when it gives them the ability to work like this;

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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