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6+2 Things I Learned At The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference

The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) is taking place this week in Los Angeles. Here are some observations from today’s events.

The Microsoft Worldwide
Partner Conference
(WPC) is taking place this week in Los Angeles. Steve
Ballmer delivered Monday’s keynote speech about the future of Microsoft, along
with help from VP Tami Reller. Sitting in on the lecture and walking the
exhibition hall, here are a bunch of interesting factoids I picked up today:

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• 50,000 businesses have tried Office
365 since its release.

• Microsoft says 90% of enterprises are ‘committed
to Windows’

• 2/3 of PCs today (300 million) are still running Windows XP.

• Windows 8, which was touted as ‘more touch screen, more mobile, more devices, working
with a changing web in a secure cloud environment’ at first glance,
looks like Windows 7 meets the iPad.

• A heterogeneous IT environment to
Microsoft seems to be Windows 7 working with … Windows XP.

• According to Microsoft, Gartner and
IDC say that Windows Phone will be number 2 in mobile operating system market by 2015.

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• Xbox Live TV will be available for the
holiday season … .Just what we need–more ways to get more TV on our TV.

In the exhibit hall, Microsoft is showing Microsoft Surface,
a joint effort with Samsung. The idea is
a multitouch ‘Windows’ table that provides a very cool user experience. Several
applications were showcased–including a novel use of the Bing search engine —
where multiple search groups can be opened and dragged around the table
simultaneously, and an “Absolut Mixer” app sponsored by Absolut that is
intended for bars. The app (shown below) allows people to mix music on
two virtual turntables; the app suggests cocktails based on the music and tempo
selected. The Microsoft rep in the booth said there are a variety of vertical uses
in areas as broad as retail, financial services, professional services, health
care, public sector and several others.
Not sure what the killer app will be for Surface, but it is definitely
cool.

Windows
Phone
is also prominently displayed in the exhibit hall, with a host of hardware
and services partners also plying their wares.
I wasn’t blown away by the user experience; it’s not as intuitive as the
iPhone, but I can see where Microsoft’s marketing clout and its partnerships will give Windows Phone a big boost in the market.

Microsoft is certainly making a big effort to show that they are a
cool and innovative company. By highlighting the Xbox/Kinect community,
Surface, and Windows Phone, there is a sense that cool things are happening in
Redmond. Back office corporate offerings
like Dynamics and SharePoint don’t have the same kind of prime real estate in the
exhibition hall.

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About the author

A technology strategist for an enterprise software company in the collaboration and social business space. I am particularly interested in studying how people, organizations, and technology interact, with a focus on why particular technologies are successfully adopted while others fail in their mission.

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