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Steve BallmerBefore Monday's keynote speech by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, there was a buzz that he was going to make a major announcement. It sounded like buzz that had been started deliberately. But after press releases were handed out at the Convergence user conference before the presentation and Kirill Tatarinov, head of the Dynamics operations spoke, Ballmer said that ERP products "are going to the cloud." And that was about it.

"Was that all?" was the question by more than one attendee. Some questioned why an executive of Ballmer's stature would deliver a keynote that was so bereft of specifics or something to back up the claim this was a major announcement.

It's hard to shake the feeling that more was planned. One major reason is that the speech was short, 15 minutes short some said. I thought it was perhaps 25 minutes short. Now, two-hour keynotes usually aren't short. It's more often that they go long. So why was this presentation so atypical?

That's behind the belief that Ballmer pulled back from giving more detail on plans to take Dynamics AX, GP, NAV and SL to the cloud with NAV going first in the spring of 2012 and AX trailing the pack in 2013 or as late as 2014. One Microsoft employee opined that executives might have concluded too much detail about future product might cause users in attendance to hold off on purchases.

I'm more inclined to think there was feedback at a reception the night before that there was something wrong with the plan. Those invited seem to have been major players in the channel and one who attended believed that Microsoft could not meet its planned schedule. He reasoned that it would be impossible for enough third-party software suppliers to have their products ready. Third-party products are crucial to delivering functions that many users want.

As I left the room where the speech was delivered I ran into this person. "Could they have been any more vague?" I asked. He laughed.

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