Microsoft’s annual event, Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2014 at Washington.D.C , witnessed a whooping 16,000 audience this year.
During the keynote, Kevin Turner, COO of Microsoft, provided a new focus on productivity across all devices and platforms and not just Microsoft’s. Turner emphasized that Microsoft is committed to delivering seamless experiences not just on Windows devices but across multiple platforms, including Mac, iOS and Android. He said that these cross-platform solutions and products will offer dual users – people that juggle their home and work lives – connected , personalized and contextual experiences that ultimately allow them to “get work done.”
Dynamics CRM Online, the Enterprise Mobility Suite and OneNote were all highlighted as great examples of how Microsoft is delivering on this vision and differentiating itself from the competition.
“Surface Pro 3 has been very positively received, even by some of Microsoft’s harshest critics”said Kevin calling the device the “best 2-in-1” in the market and as one that can beat both the MacBook Air and the iPad.
Turner explained that in the “old world” of the PC, Microsoft and Windows commanded over 90 percent of the market and set the agenda. But in today’s mobile first, cloud first world, while Microsoft still owns over 90 percent of the PC market, it only accounts for 14 percent of all personal computing devices. “The reality is, the world’s shifted, the world’s evolved,” Turner said.While acknowledging the new reality, Turner also put it in terms of an opportunity for Microsoft to grow its market share.
“When you have 90+ percent share, you protect and preserve,” he said. “At 14 percent, you challenge. It’s a new mindset. A challenger mindset. To be a great challenger one must drive 3 things- Disruption, Differentiation and Speed.The reality is, the transformation is accelerating,” he said. “It’s going to come quick. It’s going to come quicker.”
Microsoft eliminated royalty charges on any version of Windows that runs on a device with a screen size of 9 inches or less. Justifying this “hard decision” Kevin said, “We saw 31 new device wins the week we announced this licensing change alone, and it’s accelerated every week since then. The proliferation of Windows is happening because of that strategic change.”
Microsoft will remain focused on the four megatrends it highlighted at last year’s conference – cloud, mobile, social and big data/BI – but has added one more to the mix – security. Turner also added that the company is getting behind the internet of things trend and is providing a “trusted platform to deliver intelligent insights.”
On the cloud side,” Microsoft is of course much better positioned. Office 365 is now Microsoft’s fastest growing business ever, and is on a $2.5+ billion per year run rate. Azure is the only cloud platform that excels in both Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) duties while offering unique enterprise and hybrid deployment capabilities the competitors don’t and in the latter case can’t match”.
As Satya Nadella had previously explained in an open letter to employees, Microsoft’s primary focus going forward is on productivity, and in this it has the ability to match its productivity services and apps with all popular platforms, mobile and otherwise.
“We are going to win in productivity,” Mr. Turner said. “And we’re going to do it with first party hardware and 3rd party partnerships, and not be closed and proprietary. We’re having dialogs, discussions and agreements today that were not possible just a few years ago. And we have new OEMs and new partners that we also compete with. This is good for customers, and good for partners. We are embracing the realities of the mobile first, cloud first world.”
Other announcements included the launch of a brand new programme – The Cloud Solution Provider Program – that allows partners to sell their own cloud tools, products and services, and to manage 100% of the Azure customer lifecycle. In addition, Microsoft Azure and Dynamics CRM Online will be available via the Open Licensing Program later this year.