free html hit counter Microsoft Says: We Can Build a Friggin' Grid Too - John Battelle's Search Blog

Microsoft Says: We Can Build a Friggin' Grid Too

By - May 03, 2006


Via Linden, this Seattle PI story reports on Microsoft’s ambitions to build a massive grid – and spend an additional $2 billion doing it. This is the real test of a company’s mettle – will it go big to create a platform for all computing, regardless of its near term potential monetization. Microsoft has seen the writing on the wall, apparently. And the company can outspend anyone at this particular game. Anyone.

Now, the company is NOT saying this publicly. In the piece its CFO would not comment on what the money was being spent on, other than to say they will be hiring a lot of sales folks. But it’s clear that Microsoft must build a rival to Google’s infrastructure if it is to compete. As Linden put it:

Few others have the resources to build this massive online computing infrastructure. Who else can build, maintain, and exploit a cluster of millions of servers? Who else can spend the billions required? Not Amazon. Not Ask. Not any venture-funded startup. Probably not Yahoo.

The search war is now an arms race.

Amen to that. I do quibble with one point – I think Yahoo will spend its way into this game.

I wonder if it makes sense to just buy Sun for the server building capacity! (Just a joke, Jonathan…)

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11 thoughts on “Microsoft Says: We Can Build a Friggin' Grid Too

  1. Brad Twohig says:

    Hmmm…Maybe they should start laying a ton of dark fiber. This “arms race” sounds familiar. Let’s not forget the telecom bust was 10x the internet bust.

  2. Neil Patel says:

    Next think you know Microsoft will start buying up all of the dark fiber that Google did not get hold of.

  3. Eric Giguere says:

    And yet Amazon is perhaps the furthest down the curve with this stuff. You can buy data storage services today via S3, and they have extensive web services for various other things. Don’t count them out yet…

  4. Microsoft already has more than 250,000 servers. Sure, it’s not a grid, but then Google’s grid isn’t really a grid either anymore. It’s too sectioned to be seen as a true grid at all.

    Not that I’m saying this won’t happen or that it’s a bad idea. Personally I think a unified infrastructure would save Microsoft gobs of money, tech personnel, etc. However their culture is such that if they did it, getting approval to put apps on the grid would be a nightmare 😐

  5. Kim says:

    Actually, that link goes to a Seattle Times story, John!

  6. Gen says:

    John, the whole Rick Sherlund-Chris Liddell back-and-forth is available on the Seeking Alpha transcript of the Microsoft earnings call.

    I highly reccomend this site for you to point folks to in the future- very awesome service.

  7. Dan says:

    Microsoft has already built a pretty damned big grid. A single Excel sheet in Excel 12 will have 17,179,869,184 cells!!!

  8. Derek Tumolo says:

    Melanie has to go. Seriously, I can’t keep up with all the posting. Haha. Keep up the good work.


  9. Tim says:

    I don’t really get it. I understand the need for large storage and access solutions like S3, but in terms of a layer of web services on top of that, lightweight seems to win out time and time again. Web services are the antithesis of the monopoly control Microsoft is used to. Is it still a web service if it’s just one Microsoft server talking to another Microsoft server?

  10. Kieran says:

    MSFT used to be viewed as the leading tech innovator – This move makes complete sense to restore that title.

  11. >>The search war is now an arms race.

    This arms race is started a long time ago between other searchengines, and the war Microsoft > Google will still going on for a long time.