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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

July 11, 2011 at 9:13 AM

WPC11: Live blog of Steve Ballmer Microsoft speech

Microsoft’s Worldwide Partners Conference starts Monday with a speech from Chief Executive Steve Ballmer. I will be tapping some live notes here while watching the webcast starting at 9 a.m. The webcast is at if you want to watch along. If you want to follow along on Twitter, the hashtag is #WPC11.

To find out what WPC is all about, check out our earlier blog post on WPC 2011.

9:11 a.m. Microsoft is showing a video of the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami.

9:15 a.m. A Japanese dance troupe has taken the stage. I don’t know their name, but they are dressed like salary men. The WPC organizers are pretty savvy about riffing off natural disasters. In 2009, the organizers took the conference to New Orleans, where they had the music collective Playing for Change perform on stage.

9:18 a.m. If you’re not watching this video, imagine footage of the “Matrix.”

9:19 a.m. The band was World Order. They are done. Microsoft Corporate Vice President Jon Roskill is now on stage. He asked all the Japanese partners in Staples Center to stand and be recognized. And he’s recapping the volunteer day Microsoft held Sunday at the start of Worldwide Partners Conference.

9:22 a.m. Jon Roskill has shaved his beard since a video he posted Sunday morning.

9:24 a.m. There are 12,000 people at WPC this week, Roskill said, representing 640,000 partner companies who employ 15 million people. “Winning together is the theme of WPC 2011. Winning together and changing the world,” he said.

9:27 a.m. “When I say VmWare service providers, you say, ‘Ssssssssss,’ ” Roskill said, talking about a partner company winning a Chinese government contract against VmWare.

9:34 a.m. Los Lobos and Smashmouth will be playing Thursday at WPC.

9:36 a.m. “Microsoft has always been a leader in each of the major technology transformations over the years,” Roskill said. “From mainframes to PC, PC to server, from client server to the Internet, to the transition we’re in right now driven by mobility and the cloud.”

9:37 a.m. Microsoft generates 95 percent of its revenue through partner companies, Roskill said.

9:39 a.m. Roskill said 58 percent of partners are moving into the cloud, but most still consider it “opportunistic” rather than core to business.

9:41 a.m. Steve Ballmer is on stage.

9:44 a.m. “As Jon says, we make 95 percent of our revenue through partners. I can’t find the last 5 percent myself,” Ballmer said. “I’m just going to say that we’ve got 100% of our business with partners.”

9:46 a.m. Ballmer is talking cloud computing to partners. As in, you’re either with us or you’re not. “Last year’s WPC was, for me, scary,” Ballmer said. “I’d say some of the feedback we got from partners (was) we’re not sure we like the cloud. The cloud is a disruptor. It is a disruptor for all of us and disruption can be hard for all of us. I basically said last year at this meeting we’re all in on the cloud 100 percent and we want partners who want to come with us.”

9:49 a.m. Ballmer is showing a video of the Imagine Cup student software competition happening this week in New York.

9:50 a.m. Ballmer’s PowerPoint slides have live tiles like the Windows Phone (and Windows 8 preview) home screen.

9:55 a.m. Ballmer talks Windows. “Windows we’re selling a lot of Windows and we’ve got a lot of competition in the business. Three hundred fifty million, 350 million new PCs sold. That might compare with numbers from other guys that are in the 20 million range,” Ballmer said. “Now 20 is too much but 350 the last time I checked is a lot more than 20.”

9:57 a.m. Ballmer talks Windows Phones. “Phones? We’ve gone from very small to very small but it’s been a heck of a year,” he said. “And you’re going to see a lot of progress in that competitive market this year.”

10:01 a.m. Ballmer talking a lot about Bing, which he admits is not that relevant to partners at WPC. Bing now has 14 percent market share, and including Yahoo, has 30 percent.

10:02 a.m. Stefan Weitz, director at Bing, is doing a demo with a search for “mango,” the code name for a Windows Phone update. Not sure if this is intended, but the meta on this mango search is that Google CEO Larry Page at one point complained to his team about the search results for “warm mangos.” Here is our earlier story on Page’s warm mangos.

10:11 a.m. Ballmer back and he’s talking about cloud platform Windows Azure, emphasizing that it’s flexibility between public and private cloud is its differentiator from competitors VmWare, and Google. “We’ve really stitched together a more coherent and complete public cloud and private cloud story … that lets you move things, start them in private cloud, move them to public cloud, extend them to on-premise,” he said. He does not give any update on the number of customers who are using Azure.

10:15 a.m. Ballmer says Boeing is an example of a customer in the cloud, which built a marketing application for the 737 with Wirestone to display thousands of images of the 737 on many devices. “The folks at Boeing say it’s the best thing that customers can see next to actually walking around and through the aircraft,” Ballmer said. The application is “drawing on data that lives on premise in Boeing but exposing it in an application that lives in Windows Azure in the public cloud.”

10:19 a.m. Ballmer talked about its customer relations management software Dynamics. Then he talked about Office and Office 365. Ballmer said 56,000 businesses have “trialed” Office 365.

Ballmer mentions a customer having important paper, then jokes, “See how old I am I still refer to paper as if it’s important?”

10:24 a.m. Ballmer talks Office 365 versus Google Apps. “How are you doing versus competition? The answer is ‘outstanding,’ ” Ballmer said. “The very few reference customers the other guys have, we didn’t engage.”

10:28 a.m. Ballmer now showing Xbox Kinect and its voice controls to control the TV. Live TV is coming to Xbox for the holidays, he said.

“Heck, even a remote control is a little too complicated for the average family,” he said. Ballmer said in his hotel room Monday morning, “I went looking for CNBC this morning and I never found it.”

10:26 a.m. Ballmer on Skype. “I’ve been asked by partners does this Skype competition somehow mean you’re not as serious and enthusiastic about Lync. Quite the contrary,” he said. Lync, Microsoft’s unified communications business, is the fastest growing Microsoft product for businesses, Ballmer said. “The power of Lync and Skype under the same umbrella, we think we’re going to do even more fantastic things together.”

10:33 a.m. Ballmer said, “Windows 8 really does represent a true re-imagining of Windows PCs and the dawning of Windows slates.” And he’s done. Windows marketing head Tami Reller is now on stage.

10:40 a.m. Reller is giving an update on Windows 7.

10:44 a.m. Reller said two thirds of business PCs are still on Windows XP. That represents 300 million PCs.

10:46 a.m. Microsoft says the free beta test of the next version of Windows Intune is available Monday.

10:52 a.m. Reller is recapping all the news about how it’s building Windows 8 for touch-screen tablets as well as desktop and laptop computers. She says next announcement about Windows 8 will be at its BUILD conference in September.

10:59 a.m. Ballmer is back. Ballmer describes current state of the economy as a “global economic malaise.”

He opened with the cloud. He is now closing with Windows. “Windows is the backbone product of Microsoft,” he said. “Windows PCs, Windows Phones, Windows slates. Windows Windows Windows Windows Windows.”

11:04 a.m. Ballmer gave out his email (as he frequently does at speeches), Ballmer is out, keynote is over.



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