Reuven Cohen achieved Web-wide notoriety this past week when Steven Martin, Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) director of platform development, criticized the efforts of his fledgling cloud computing industry association in a widely discussed blog post.
The repercussions continue to play out today.
A comparatively small player in cloud computing, Cohen, CEO of Toronto-based cloud computing startup Enomaly, has been putting together a little-known standards group for cloud computing over the past several weeks. Martin critiqued the group’s first publication, a cloud computing manifesto touting open standards that is scheduled to be released on Monday.
Martin claimed that the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum (CCIF) had written a brief on open standards but was not accepting suggestions or changes. “Very recently, we were privately shown a copy of the document, warned that it was a secret, and told that it must be signed ‘as is,’ without modifications or additional input,” he wrote.
“Thank you Microsoft,” Cohen responded in a tweet on Friday morning, posting a link to his own blog, where he wrote, “In one move, Microsoft has provided more visibility to our cloud interoperability effort then all our previous efforts combined. For this reason alone we need thank Microsoft.”
The response to Martin’s post had been large and fast. Yesterday, Cohen wrote that he had already received over 100 e-mails on the subject.
However, he admitted today, at least on Twitter, that the process of drafting the manifesto had been secret: “I didn’t invent the backroom deal. As Ice T famously said, Don’t Hate The Playa, Hate The Game.”
Still, Cohen wrote in his blog that he does want to work with Microsoft. “Moving forward, I believe Microsoft will continue to be a major partner in our activities, including recently signing on as a global sponsor for our Cloud Camps. Who knows, maybe they’ll sign on to the manifesto, too.”
Cohen has an complex network of occupations that could give him an interest in fomenting controversy. In addition to his work as CEO of a cloud computing startup, Cohen describes himself as “CCIF Instigator / Open Cloud Manifesto” in the first post to the CCIF Google group, is the editor of the Cloud Interoperability Magazine and is a reporter for media group SYS-CON. It’s this last job that’s the most interesting, as it may give him an incentive to provoke.
CCIF sponsors include networking firm Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO), chipmaker Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), financial information provider Thomson Reuters (NYSE: TRI), security firm RSA — which is part of EMC (NYSE: EMC) — and, of course, Enomaly.
In his blog post, Microsoft’s Martin warned that the forum is dominated by one or a few companies that he chose not to name. “It appears to us that one company, or just a few companies, would prefer to control the evolution of cloud computing, as opposed to reaching a consensus across key stakeholders (including cloud users) through an ‘open’ process.”
Just who does Microsoft fear in cloud computing? The obvious answer might be Google, but Google is not a member of CCIF. Google and Microsoft are competing in numerous areas, including search, browsers and office software.
But Cohen intends to bring Google into the CCIF. His SYS-CON colleague (and employee at Cloud Interoperability Magazine) Maureen O’Gara reported today that Cohen hopes several companies that participate in an informal Cloud Camp will become members of CCIF, including Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), HP (NYSE:HP) and IBM (NYSE: IBM).
It’s still yet unclear whether the manifesto — and the surrounding controversy — isn’t all just a savvy publicity move: Cohen plans to unveil the manifesto on Monday at SYS-CON’s Cloud Computing Expo in New York.
At press time, the manifesto is available online at Web document hosting service Scribd.