JCL Blog

Kevin Turner has Gloves Off and is Ready to Fight

It was a sharp contrast to Steve Ballmer's presentation when Microsoft COO Kevin Turner took the stage today at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference.  For every implied competitive situation in Ballmer's presentation, KT took direct aim at a competitor, and was not shy about naming names.  It will be interesting to see the press coverage, because he was handing out some juicy quotes.  Try these:

"We (Microsoft) are the undisputed leader in commercial cloud services."

"Sharepoint online is the fastest growing product in the history of Microsoft."

 "The smartphone game is just starting."

"The Go Do is don't let our customers get Googled."

"We don't want some of the customers, we want all of them."

"In a market where we were left for dead." (about search)

"Don't let Customers pay the Apple Tax".

"It looks like iPhone 4 may be their Vista."

He didn't stop there.  Without hesitation he rolled into direct assaults on Linux, VMware, and Oracle.  After Turner's show, Microsoft's 640,000 strong partner army know one thing:  General Turner is itching for a fight and he is willing to engage on not just more than one front, but all of them.  Forget Sun Tzu and wasting time trying to figure out whose enemy's enemy is the friendliest.  Let's get busy shooting.  

As crazy as it seems for a strategy, it could just be the right recipe for Microsoft.  Microsoft's partner army is so large, so deep, and so well developed -- this kind of thing just could work.  Given the press over the past few months and the morale in Redmond, Kevin Turner's energy did seem to be quite welcome.  The Ballmer / Turner 1-2 could be a knock out.



Parsing Ballmer at WPC 2010

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:

eWeek's Microsoft Watch

Channel Insider

Seattle Times

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.