Microsoft urged its partner community to start building products based on the firm's cloud-delivered technology at its Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles on Monday.
Chief executive Steve Ballmer told 15,000 attendees, many of them Microsoft's business partners, that the company is set on cloud technology and wants partners that will come with it.
"The cloud is a disrupter for all of us. Disruption is scary but we are all in on the cloud 100 per cent and we need partners who are coming with us," said Ballmer.
"It doesn't mean that our business has fully transitioned [to cloud technology] in the last 12 months, but we are all in."
Ballmer told partners still focused on traditional software models to "remap and retrain for this new world".
"It will be one of the most beneficial transitions for all users around the planet," he said.
Ballmer argued that Microsoft needs partners that will promote its Office 365 and Azure platforms.
Microsoft revealed Office 365 last month as a cloud version of the popular Office suite, while Azure is Microsoft's platform-as-a-service offering launched in 2008.
Ballmer said that Microsoft now has 41,000 cloud partners and that the company's "unique strength" as a cloud player is its ability to allow customers to move applications from private to public clouds using common infrastructure.
"We have stitched together in the last 12 months a coherent public cloud and private cloud story with System Center, Visual Studio and Active Directory," Ballmer said.
"We look at competitors VMware, Oracle, Google and Amazon. Each has an offering that is unique, limited, focused and has merit, but we think customers want flexibility to mix between public and private cloud environments."
However, Microsoft may have its work cut out convincing end users to migrate to its cloud services.
Over half of V3.co.uk readers gave Office 365 the thumbs down in a poll last week, saying that it will not persuade them to switch from their current version of Office.
IDC analyst David Bradshaw suggested that the transition to more cloud services is a necessary but difficult step for Microsoft.
"Microsoft has comparatively a very small proportion of its revenue from subscription type services," he told V3.co.uk.
"Transforming its business to a subscription model, where income from a sale is spread out over many years, could be very painful if it happens too quickly."
Bradshaw also argued that, despite Ballmer's bluster, it will take Microsoft time to convince partners to move to the cloud, as the majority will adopt a 'wait and see' approach.
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