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How Microsoft Is Scaring Apple

Stocks in this article: MSFT AAPL

While the upcoming release of Windows 8 might continue to go underappreciated by Wall Street or more appropriately, analysts have decided to take a "prove it" attitude towards the launch, it has (however) not been dismissed by Apple. For all intents and purposes, this was why Apple quickly responded with its announcement of OSX Mountain Lion due out this summer. To me, it was a swift jab to the chin of Microsoft to remind investors and analysts to whom the mobile power truly belong -- regardless of how revolutionary Windows 8 is expected to be.

I am now inclined to wonder if it is possible that Apple has gotten on the defensive as a pre-emptive move to thwart off any potential momentum by Microsoft. Should investors take this as a sign that (just maybe) Windows 8 will indeed be the "game-changer" that Microsoft has been searching for since Windows 95? So clearly, for as down as the company has been perceived to be, Microsoft has been steadily working to reset its business - one that now appear to be on the verge of a resurgence aided by its partnership with Nokia (NOK).

What is remarkable is how both Nokia and Microsoft, leaders in their respective markets have come together as a way to not only dispel the notions of their demise, but also to address their respective weaknesses -- an endeavor that if successful, has the potential to not only launch attacks on both Apple and Google but they will be able to do it from multiple directions. Another key consideration in all of this is its cloud initiative called Azure -- one that is designed to be open and flexible while enabling users to build, deploy as well as manage applications across global networks.

What makes this platform so unique and even outpaces competing products from notable cloud titans such as Oracle (ORCL) and even from my new favorite in VMware (VMW) is that Azure also allows easy integration of public cloud applications to existing enterprises while also enabling networks to build and run highly available applications -- all of this without focusing on the infrastructure. I have to wonder if there is a product like it on the market. The product that comes closest to Azure in terms of its revolutionary appeal is likely going to come from Red Hat (RHT).

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