Monday, July 18, 2011 3:06 PM
We kick off Day 4 at, you guessed it, another keynote (maybe they should rename this to the Worldwide Partner Keynote Conference?). We kick off with the Canadian Tenors singing some song they wrote for the Vancouver Olympics, and then a parade of partners carrying their country’s flag enters. I feel like I’m at Folklarama back in Winnipeg. ;)
So today we have some big names speaking. Kevin Turner, Microsoft’s COO and Sir Richard Branson are on the schedule.
If you have never seen Kevin Turner speak, make sure you put that on your geek bucket list. He’s like a younger Ballmer, full of energy and competitive fury. During his talk he passionately expounded on the “big bets” for FY12, and then began to talk about each competitor to Microsoft in humorous-yet-vindictive ways. It was a very entertaining session. You can watch it here (Kevin comes on around the 34 minute mark). So what are the big bets?
Microsoft is “all in” on the cloud. The message heard loud and clear, and maybe not said as bluntly but the undertone was unavoidable, that either partners get on to the new way of providing software services or lag behind.
Microsoft will continue playing and expanding their consumer endeavours (Kinect was all over WPC).
Search and Display Advertising
There will be greater integration with Bing and other Microsoft properties, and the advertising model will continue to grow as well (Microsoft has an advertising framework already available).
We’ll see what the Nokia deal does for WP7 market share, but make no mistake: WP7 isn’t going away, and Microsoft is going to continue pushing in that market space. The product really is fantastic, they just need to get over the Microsoft 6.x stereotype.
Windows 8 Running on ARM and System on a Chip
Never mind just Windows 8, but Windows 8 running on ARM processors and SonC! This does have huge implications, as the pain of running devices with a neutered version of Windows Embedded (I’ve done it before, speaking from experience) goes away in place of running Windows 8 on these devices. Nothing was said about this, but my own prediction is that Windows 8 will be running on Windows Phones within a few years.
Kevin also talked about three key areas of execution that they need to ensure they lead in:
Lead With the Cloud
Remember what I said earlier about Microsoft being “all in”?
Windows 7 and Office 365
Microsoft’s message around Windows 7 is that its the best platform to prepare for Windows 8. Obviously with Windows 8 coming, they need to still sell Windows 7 licenses so this is their play for that. Office 365 has huge potential, so its not a surprise that its a key execution point.
With so many more competitors out there, there’s a heightened need to keep buyers happy and committed to the Microsoft platform. Hopefully this sentiment trickles through all the company’s business units.
He also rallied the troops to “help customers migrate from old versions of Office, Windows, and IE6”.
Sir Richard Branson
If Kevin was the rallying voice of war and victory, Branson was the calming voice of peace and reason. A soft-spoken man who showed his wisdom throughout the Q&A style format, Branson talked of making friends with your enemies, the importance of family, the importance of people within his organization, and looking at true innovation that changes the world.
The intro to his talk was filled with images and videos, and had words flash on the screen describing Virgin’s creed:
“We’re on a journey to make a difference. Our voice, our sense of adventure, the amazing things we achieve, the places we can go. We’re about people, we champion our customers, we innovate. Building our legacy for your future. Let’s do business like there is a tomorrow.”
It ends with Branson saying “Screw it, let’s do it”. The entire talk was very motivating; it’s rare you get insights from someone who’s been doing business since the Vietnam war and is now on the verge of launching commercial space travel. You can view the entire interview at the link I posted earlier (his piece starts just before the 1h 33 minute mark).
A Night At The Roxbury
The Canadian contingent hosted a party at the Roxbury…yes, *that* Roxbury. Interesting movie trivia: the club scenes in the movie weren’t actually shot at the Roxbury, they were shot at the Mayan (where the Tuesday night party was). Unfortunately I couldn’t find a purple suit jacket and matching pants for the evening. *sigh*