Microsoft World Partner Conference: Day 1

It’s Microsoft World Partner Conference time, which is an event I always look forward to. This year it’s being held in Houston (it’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it) so I’m camped here for a week taking in all the latest from Microsoft, delivered via a variety of speeches and workshops.

Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer was first onto stage and he opened with a thanks, announcing that the total partner revenue to Microsoft is worth a not too shabby $650 billion.

As well as bringing up Windows 8 and how Microsoft have been listening to feedback from consumers with its followup, Windows 8.1 (we’ll await its arrival before giving our verdict but we’re looking forward to it, and more importantly what it means for today’s multi device workers), Steve commented on the nature of today’s technology landscape.

The whole industry is innovating faster and faster than ever before and it’s an incredibly exciting time – the move to the cloud for most businesses is getting closer and there are more new products and solutions coming into the market now than there has ever been before.

The trick will be ensuring that all these new products are clear in their benefits for businesses, and that jargon and buzz words don’t continue to saturate, and ultimately lead to mass confusion for the user. Steve spoke about how Microsoft’s mantra is to build experiences that help people get stuff done.

The focus on his speech was on the four massive trends which customers are speaking to Microsoft about: Cloud, Big Data, Social, and Mobility.

Here are the highlights of his speech:


  • The path to the cloud leads almost all companies to the public cloud (as opposed to private or hybrid). This puts a lot of pressure on suppliers to have a low cost, highly available and secure infrastructure.
  • SharePoint was Microsoft’s fastest growing product until it was overtaken by Lync, but now Office365 holds that crown.
  • Azure is battle tested first of all on delivering Microsoft solutions in the public cloud, such as Office 365 and CRM.
  • Microsoft has 1 million servers in the data centre…..but there are only about 5 or 6 companies, (Amazon and Google included) that really get date centres, and know how to use them properly. There is a lot of education needed about data centres.

Big Data

  • Astonishingly, 90% of the world’s data has only been created in the last 2 years. That’s a lot of information in a short space of time.
  • Most of the value in big data is self-learning, which is then turned into automating processes. This provides you with the level of detailed knowledge you need about your market or customer.
  • The Azure data marketplace gives access to things like weather data – this can interact with your own data, to give an overall view using both public and private data.


  • Social isn’t a product, but it is a way of working – the focus in on collaboration and communication which is important given the way workers can work from any location at any time now. Microsoft have focussed on this recently, particularly with their acquisition of Yammer.
  • Social activities now spread across everything – business, people to people, customers and suppliers.
  • Skype and Lync, bought together, connect both consumers and businesses over different platforms.


  • In today’s marketplace there are so many devices which come in so many different shapes and forms – from phones, tablets and a PCs which look nothing like how they used to in the ‘heavy duty’ PC era. They are all learning to cope with today’s ‘anytime, anywhere’ worker.
  • Microsoft are leading the way with the Surface and the use of the pena, which is essential on touch screen devices to make them really flexible.

Stand by for my next post on the highlights of Tami Reller’s speech who is Microsoft’s CFO and chief marketing officer for Windows.