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Thoughts on WPC 2013 and Windows Azure Cloud

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I had a great experience attending Microsoft’s WPC 2013 in Houston – a truly global event. It seemed there were more attendees from outside the United States than from within. The WPC conference all by itself, indeed, shows how the world continues to become smaller and more interconnected.

Along with WPC’s robust networking and partnering opportunities, Microsoft delivered a treasure trove of announcements and first-tier learning opportunities. On that note, here are a few post-conference thoughts offered in the spirit of keeping the energy of WPC going.

1)      As is already well-known, Microsoft is reinventing itself into a devices and services company, steering away from its traditional software licensing model. This shift, no doubt, seems to be right move for Microsoft but has left some partners like VARs and LARs unhappy. With 95% of Microsoft’s revenue coming from its partner base, there certainly is a lot of licensing revenue still derived Microsoft’s classic business lines represented by Office, Windows Server and SQL server among others. But the fact is Microsoft is making a full plunge into the devices and cloud, pivoting to take on Google, Amazon and Apple and their respective markets.

2)      At WPC, one main highlight was a thoroughly extensive Windows 8.1 demo. Two features stand out for me: one is you can select multiple apps and drag and drop them anywhere on your desktop. Second, I like how they included search as part of the desktop. In addition, on a separate but related track, everyone at WPC (it’s safe to say) was in awe of the demo given by Microsoft’s Amir Netz of the new Power of BI for Office 365 – his demo featured an extraordinary animated view (called the “king of the hill visualization”) of top recording artists from 1955 to 2013.

3)      For the cloud, Microsoft is going all in while pushing it heavily on all fronts. Their core strategy is promoting its hybrid cloud. Microsoft’s plan is to use their legacy Windows foothold among its enterprise customers and deliver that hybrid option. Given the security issues enterprises experience, the hybrid cloud approach makes sense. My view is this option will make enterprises less wary of moving into the cloud and more willing to take advantage of its power and scalability – while giving them the confidence that they’re in control of their data and assets.

4)      It was reassuring for me that Microsoft is fully committed to driving Windows Azure adoption. I was also pleased to see Microsoft’s announcement of the formation of Azure Managed Services – comprised of a data center-centric approach and an app-centric approach. The data center team will help companies move their data storage and existing Workloads into hybrid clouds. For the app centric side, this team will move companies’ development and test environments to Windows Azure while also moving their other LOB business apps and BI onto Azure.

All told, I’m looking forward already to next year’s WPC 2014 in Washington, DC. I’m also excited to continue to be a Microsoft Partner and help our customers grow their companies and succeed in the cloud with Windows Azure.

To learn more about Microsoft Windows Azure and tapping its capabilities for your product development efforts, please join us for a live webinar discussion, Wed., July 24, 1:00pm EDT. Click here to register.

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