As we reported yesterday, Microsoft told long time Ignite sponsor, Okta, that it would not be invited to the conference this year, a surprising move considering Microsoft's recent transformation into a company that plays nice with rival services and platforms.
It seems that Okta got a little too close for comfort to some of Redmond's latest cloud projects, but after the story broke we updated with the news that Microsoft had performed a U-Turn and has now re-invited Okta to Ignite.
Okta, a company that offers single sign-in tools is seen as a major competitor to Microsoft's own Azure Active Directory, is not taking the saga lightly.
The company's CEO, Todd McKinnon, claims that this was not an error on Microsoft's part and that the company is threatened by rivals, while adding that Okta is beating Microsoft and the company does not like it.
Regarding the original Ignite snub, Microsoft said in an email statement:
“We revisited the historical criteria and determined that Okta qualified for sponsorship opportunities. We've reached out to Okta and look forward to seeing them at Ignite.“
Cloud management is now seen as a major part of Microsoft's strategy and is one of the company's main priorities moving forward. The Enterprise Mobility Suite is a potential $1 billion product, according to Microsoft COO Kevin Turner, and while most enterprises use the service, a number of compelling alternatives are emerging on the market.
McKinnon is convinced Microsoft is threatened by these rivals (of which Okta is one) and even suggests the company is losing in the enterprise mobility space:
“We see over the last year how they've ramped up their aggressiveness in competing with us. They see this as really important now. They're losing and they don't like losing. We beat them eight out of 10 times, deal-for-deal, and that's even with them bundling in their products in their Enterprise Agreements for a pretty low price. We still beat them. They realize that if they can control the mobility and identity, then they can control choice, that's in their favor. They don't want to lose that control point.“
With Okta back on the guest list for the Ignite Conference (which gets underway in September), it is unclear how Microsoft will respond to McKinnon's rather stinging remarks. The company is unlikely to wield the axe and disinvite Okta again, and while McKinnon has not confirmed whether his company will even attend, it is likely there will be a presence at Ignite.
SOURCE: Redmond Mag