I love this post by Martin Creaner, “The ‘Static Value Chain’ is dead……long live the ‘Dynamic Value Network’“, in which he writes:
As ever, I never leave Team Action Week without an epiphany of some sort, and last week was no exception. Just when I think I understand our rapidly changing industry, I get thrown a curve ball. For example last week Microsoft were at TM Forum Team Action Week in strength, and when I casually asked what they were hoping to get out of the event they told me that they were hoping to learn how Microsoft as a Service Provider could make use of the TM Forum work. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the industry value chain has changed to such an extent that Microsoft can in one breath be a mammoth software company and in the next breath be a service provider.
The service providers, traditionally known for delivering telephone services (most notably the copper-based POTS systems), are transforming into digital network providers. The service providers have the core capability of delivering vast networks that are monetized: that is, service providers can tie usage to billing in a micro format. With the service providers delivering voice, video, and data services, they are able to extend their existing investments and infrastructure into new revenue opportunities.
Understandably, Microsoft is most noted for delivering Office and Windows. Microsoft’s core strength has always been the ability to provide superior a developer experience and enabling a vibrant partner ecosystem. Where we used to provide that solely through local software, Microsoft is undergoing a tranformation. With Microsoft providing platform services such as Live.com, Office Live, SQL Server Data Services, Exchange and SharePoint Online, you can quickly see that Microsoft is extending its capabilities to the cloud.