A couple of days ago I said that it was time that Steve Ballmer step and take a swing... at just about anything. Today he was the keynote at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner conference in Washington DC.
Here it is point by point:
- Thank you, Thank you, Thank you - to partners (9,500 in attendance) for taking Azure (cloud services) from 0 to 10,000 paying customers in the last 12 months.
- Cloud - A rework of the UW Speech from February - getting IT savings reinvested in services is both an opportunity and responsibility -- big emphasis on enterprise.
- Cloud - can do things that could not be done anywhere else (natural language, search...again focus on enterprise).
- Cloud - Better social and professional interactions (Sharepoint is the answer to Salesforce.com's chatter); Dynamics CRM online.
- Cloud - Server advances drive the cloud. Managing scale is different. Microsoft knows scale through windows update, Bing, Live, Hotmail.
- Cloud - Rich Client instead of thin client. Smart cloud and smart/rich clients (not thin) - HTML5 is supported by MS. Cloud enabled Kinect (Natal).
- Cloud - Windows 7 Slates and Windows 7 Phones - this is on to the consumer, uses language like "you need to see" and is different from the more concrete statements in the earlier points.
We are ALL IN together. You want to know if you can bet on Microsoft? If you want to help people be more productive -- you need to bet on Microsoft. Microsoft Enterprise IT and IT management. If you don't want to move to the cloud then we are not your folks.
Here is some other coverage of his talk and the event:
My take: He delivered on the enterprise, promised on the consumer. Since it was an enterprise audience I suppose that works. The slate promise was really the only new product announcement, but new product announcements were not what was needed. There was not much encoded partner messaging -- and I think that is a good thing. Microsoft has so much to offer the enterprise customer -- it is nice to see the focus on that and a minimum of other distractions.