I spent most of yesterday at Microsoft’s Partner business briefing in Birmingham. The afternoon workshops were especially good value (I was in the Public Cloud session, learning more about Office 365) but the morning keynote (delivered by Janet Gibbons, Microsoft’s UK Director for Partner Strategy and Programmes) had some interesting messages that are worth sharing further:
- 95% of Microsoft’s global revenues are generated through it’s channel partners.
- 2012 is the biggest launch year in Microsoft’s history with almost every product having a major refresh or a new iteration (from Windows 8 to Halo 4).
- Microsoft is spending significant volumes on product advertising.
- Microsoft is still a software company, but increasingly a devices and services company.
- Many of those services relate to software subscriptions.
- Interestingly, there is a 26% piracy rate for software in the UK (20% of Office users are illegal/mis-licensed) – and no piracy with online services.
- There are new partner opportunities for selling Office 365 and managing the customer relationship (billing, etc.) to expand the revenue opportunity with value-added services.
- Microsoft’s FY13 priorities are:
- Excite customers, businesses and advertisers with Windows 8 devices and applications.
- Win against Google every time with Office 365 and launch Office .
- Build application ecosystem for Windows 8, Windows Phone and Windows Azure.
- Win the datacentre with private, public and hybrid cloud.
- Grow SQL Server through BI, big data and mission critical [deployments].
- Drive deployment for Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, Active Directory.
- Win with business solutions.
- Grow Windows Phone market share.
- Drive Xbox profit and grow Kinect and Live Attach.
- Grow reach, search and monetisation of our consumer online services.
Of course, there was the obligatory Windows 8 marketing message (maybe I’ve been through too many new operating system release cycles and it all feels like another turn on the merry-go-round so I switched off a little in that part) but it was also interesting to hear Intel stand up and say (I paraphrase), “we’re still friends with Microsoft and even though Windows runs on another platform too x86 is better [does anyone remember when Windows NT supported DEC Alpha and ARC-MIPS alongside Intel x86?]. Don’t forget that Atom is power-optimised too [not just underpowered] and we have all this lovely built-in security stuff in our hardware platform”.
As for Office and Office 365 – probably too much for this post but some of the changes coming up in the next release look fantastic. I’m certainly glad I made the switch from Google Apps, although maybe a P1 plan wasn’t the best idea…