How will Microsoft bring the cloud to South Africa?

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Orange clouds

I had the great pleasure of getting invited to Microsoft this morning for breakfast canapés and a glimpse into the future of the company in South Africa. It was really quite informative, but it was clear the topic on most people’s minds – when are we getting Azure servers in South Africa?

MD of Microsoft South Africa, Mteto Nyati, started by dashing our hopes when we asked:

There are no immediate plans to build data centers.

When COO, Zoaib Hoosen took the floor to discuss enterprises, the topic (yet again) turned to servers and the cloud. Microsoft is determined to pursue their new vision of “A Cloud on every device” – this is the update to that old “A PC on every desk and in every home”. With the push into the cloud, of course Microsoft needs to be able to support those services. You’ll be happy to know that even Nyati knew about the drama surrounding Titanfall. While he claimed that it was a once-off problem from EA, he understood the concern when I pointed out that an increasing number of games will want to take advantage of the cloud, and locals will miss out on those products.

While Microsoft was clear that they couldn’t announce anything at this time, they did acknowledge that pursuing their vision may require investment in the cloud locally. Of course, it’s important to consider “Cloud Economics” as Hoosen called it – it’s simply not practical/affordable to put data centers in every country. However, Microsoft is “investigating other solutions”.

What other solutions might we see? Obviously, it’s hard to predict – Microsoft has a way of surprising us. Could they end up renting out space in local data centers? Hard to tell, but it does appear that the cloud has become a top priority for local Microsoft – it’s not just about bringing us Titanfall, but also for businesses. I still believe that something will be done about this – the murmurs from business are consistent, and with growing demand from the gaming side (including casual gamers on mobile devices), Microsoft can’t ignore the situation, nor do they seem to want to.

Before you all ask, yes – I asked the Consumer Channel Group Director, Melanie Botha, about an exact release date and recommended retail price for the Xbox One (as well as the grilling about servers). Still no answer on that. We’ll keep asking.

Last Updated: April 15, 2014

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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