Microsoft has lagged behind in the cloud infrastructure space, the company's CTO of cloud and enterprise, Dave Campbell, has admitted to Computing.
Speaking to Computing at GigaOEM's Structure Europe in London this week, Campbell, when asked if he felt Microsoft had fallen behind in the cloud space, replied: "I would say that in the infrastructure space - yes. We started platform as service before the world knew what it is, but... I sometimes use the analogy of ski slalom races: some are set up where if you miss a gate, you lose a few seconds. The question is, if you miss a gate, do you want to go back up the hill to try to get it, or just go onto the next gate?"
However, Campbell said Microsoft is now starting to "have conversations we've needed to have for some time now" about its cloud offerings.
As a 19-year Microsoft veteran, Campbell says his current role as CTO of cloud and enterprise is to act as a "bridge builder", revealing that he feels he has "more power" in an individual CTO role than working in project teams, as he has spent much of his career doing.
"I've had people say ‘You had this huge team before, why would you want this individual role? And I said to them ‘I can have more power as an individual than with a team around me,'" said Campbell.
"Because we have so many things that need to come together, and no matter how neutral I could be, people would assume a bias, and if they had a horse in the race, it would be better than [another] horse."
Campbell's standpoint seems to reflect the so-called "factioned" working practices of Microsoft under the administration of CEO Steve Ballmer.
But Campbell maintains that Microsoft has the technology and the potential for success in place already - it just needs to bring it all together.
Having worked on Microsoft'S SQL Server products for over a decade, Campbell has watched the concept of "cloud" evolve from a developer concern to much wider importance.
"In an online space we built this online big data environment, mostly because crazy guys needed to do crazy things, but now it's what business is about," Campbell told Computing.
Returning to the ski analogy, Campbell described current cloud infrastructure merely as another opportunity on that journey down the slope.
"If you think of infrastructure as being a gate, I do think it'll be around and relevant for a while, but as the rest of the market catches up in platform-based services, and we think about the proposition where others can build extensions of Office 365 and that sort of stuff, that's our opportunity," he said.
"Because if you think about it and just start with the email, that was something that goes to cloud really quickly, and SharePoint too. And if you think of business processes on that level, that's where you start to think ‘Microsoft may have an interesting position relative to some other players. If - and I believe it will - cloud evolves to that kind of level."