NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- In 1955, the year I was born, Warner Brothers debuted a cartoon called "Hare Brush" in which Bugs Bunny changed places with his nemesis, Elmer Fudd. The conceit was that Fudd was about to go to jail, so he tricked the rabbit into going in his stead.Curiously, 1955 was also the year Bill Gates was born. Current Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) CEO Steve Ballmer is a year younger than us. But Ballmer seems to have seized on that script as the way to turn the tables in his ongoing competition with Google (GOOG - Get Report).
Yes, Google has the biggest, best and baddest cloud on the planet. But it mainly uses its cloud to provide Google services to Google customers. It doesn't sell the Google Compute Engine nearly as effectively as Amazon.com (AMZN - Get Report) does. In addition, both Google and Amazon are proprietary infrastructures. So, many thought, was Microsoft's cloud, called Azure, which the company first tried to sell as a complete platform, including tools for creating applications. Now, working with independent vendors like Greenbutton, Microsoft is pushing the idea that its cloud can support OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure which seeks to challenge Amazon in the enterprise. In addition, Microsoft says, it will now match Amazon's infrastructure on price. Bill Hilf, general manager of Microsoft's cloud computing group, calls this "the power of And" in a blog post announcing the plan. The idea is that Microsoft is flexible, Google inflexible, and that Microsoft prices to the market.