Storing, synching, editing and/or sharing files in the cloud has suddenly become big business. Startups like Box, Dropbox, and Syncplicity (now owned by EMC) sensed this long ago because their founders rightly predicted that the knowledge workers of the future wouldn’t want to be emailing files to themselves and keeping track of various versions any more than they did. Ditto for carrying thumb drives around.

Fast forward a few years and the market cap for enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) services may be as big as a trillion dollars. It’s no wonder giants like Citrix, EMC, Google and Microsoft all want part (or all) of that action. Winning is critical to their ability to gain, or even retain, Enterprise market share.

As we’ve written before, Microsoft isn’t sitting back and watching as Google and Amazon race to the bottom on the price of cost storage. And while part of the reason they are doing this is to sell the Azure platform, the other part is retaining Microsoft Office, Office 365 and SharePoint market share. After all, as Enterprises map their cloud strategies, they’ll likely look at all of their options versus simply lobbing what they have on the ground to the sky.

Get Ready

So it goes to follow, that Microsoft will make a slew of announcements at its Worldwide Partner Conference next week.

There will be three around Office 365 for small to mid-size businesses that are aggressively priced:

  • Office 365 Business – The full Office applications suite – Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Publisher, with 1TB of OneDrive for Business cloud storage to access, edit and share your documents across your Windows PC, Mac, iPad, Windows tablet and smartphone
  • Office 365 Business Essentials – The core cloud services for running your business – business class email and calendaring, Office Online, online meetings, IM, video conferencing, cloud storage and file sharing and much more
  • Office 365 Business Premium – Get everything from both the Office 365 Business and Business Essentials plans

They’ll also elaborate on how Project Oslo Delve can search and discover content across Office 365 that delivers personalized insights based on machine learning. (EMC Syncplicity, Box and Dropbox are all working on, or already have nascent versions of these capabilities).

From what we have seen, Delve discovers information that might be useful to you, helping you to work more efficiently and to look even smarter than you already are. According to Microsoft, Delve eliminates information silos that exist across applications, while better supporting information discovery to enable teams to work together as a network.

Worth Mentioning

Though we don’t generally cover Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) on CMSWire, when you can deploy a multi-tier, highly available SharePoint Farm in the cloud with a few clicks, it’s notable. According to Microsoft, its new IaaS functionality allows you to create, deploy, monitor and manage rich virtual machines’ based applications, and manage virtual networks within a fully customizable Portal experience.

One for All?

The impact of all the announcements Microsoft will be making next week will beg Enterprise Architects and CIO’s to ask themselves a simple question: Why buy cloud services (be they storage, platforms or applications) from multiple sources when you can get best-in-class capabilities from one? Isn’t one throat to choke better than ten?

The answer is, of course, whether the throat you are choking provides all of the remedies that you need in a timely fashion. And, quite frankly, this was one of the few concerns Gartner heard about Microsoft in its EFSS Magic Quadrant report. They wrote that some of the Microsoft customers they spoke to found it to be challenging to get specific support for OneDrive for Business because of Microsoft's large portfolios.

So for EFSS vendors and anyone who wants to go up against Microsoft, where it does business, this might be a loophole, for now. We know that CEO Satya Nadella has already woken Redmond’s slumbering giant and shown the world that it has a new bag of tricks.