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Microsoft Pri0

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.

September 14, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Microsoft execs present company’s product strategies in annual Financial Analysts Meeting

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Microsoft’s annual Financial Analysts Meeting (FAM) — where it presents its overall business strategy and roadmap to analysts — got under way this afternoon in conjunction with the company’s Build conference for developers.

Among the highlights:

  • CEO Steve Ballmer said, in reply to a question about whether Office would have the Metro-style user interface: “We’re thinking hard about what it would mean to do Office Metro-style… When we have something to talk about, we will.”
  • Ballmer said Windows Phone sales to date are not as high as “I would have hoped,” but “I’m very optimistic on where I think we could be,” especially with the latest update, Windows Phone 7.5 Mango, coming onto the market.
  • There was a big emphasis on cloud. “We’re all into the cloud,” said Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner.
  • Speakers talked about how Bing is being integrated into different products and how their vision for search was not just about keywords but about helping people complete tasks.

Here’s what happened:

1:05 p.m.: Bill Koefoed, Microsoft’s general manager of investor relations, takes the stage. He reflects on the past year’s financial results. And he says that, as with past FAMs, the company solicited feedback on the topics analysts most wanted to hear about, resulting in these topics to be presented this afternoon:

*Windows – the strategy around Windows and tablets

*Windows Phones

*Xbox and the future of the living room

*Windows Server and Azure – the future in the cloud and how Microsoft fits into that

*Office

*Bing and search – Microsoft’s vision for search and strategy to compete in that market

*Dynamics

1:25: Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner talks about the company’s “operating momentum,” including in fiscal year 2011 nearly $70 billion in sales, $23.2 billion in profit, and earnings per share of $2.69, up from a year ago. He talks about momentum in various products including Office, Kinect and Xbox, and Exchange.

Turner also talks about how the company intends to be a leader in the move of computing to the cloud. “We’re all into the cloud,” he said. Decades ago, Microsoft’s vision was a PC on every desk. “The new aspiration in the company now: We want to be the company that can connect every person and every business to a continuous cloud server,” he said.

1:47: Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein talks about underlying trends that lead some experts to predict a future market of $600 billion in 2015 (a doubling of the current $300 billion current estimated opportunity).

Those underlying trends involve:

*a greater variety of form factors/devices.

*the move to the cloud.

*growing shift in advertising from offline to online.

*the explosion in the amount of data — data that needs to be analyzed, managed and/or secured.

*a shift in gaming and entertainment to a more social, interactive experience.

*the growth in emerging markets.

2:00: Qi Lu, president of the Online Services Division, talks about how, from the beginning, Microsoft has had a different point of view about search. “We want our products to go beyond just finding information to helping you complete tasks,” he said. Microsoft (with its Bing search engine and Bing-powered Yahoo searches) was gaining in market share, with some of the key drivers behind the growth being search quality, strategic partnerships and innovations, he said.

Its vision for the future, he said, involves re-organizing the Web so searches are done not just with keywords, and where search is the gateway to the cloud. Part of the shift involves more “social search,” in which partnerships with organizations like Facebook play an important role.

2:25: Satya Nadella, president of the Server and Tools business, says, simply: “Our mission is to cloud-optimize every business.” As businesses and consumers move toward the cloud, every customer’s reality is that he/she will have hybrid information systems inside their clouds because of different applications that run on different platforms and systems. Microsoft has the ability to bring those together through commonalities of identity and virtualization, he said, and also to build deep and broad platforms across private and public clouds.

2:40: CEO Steve Ballmer takes the floor. He talks first about Microsoft’s point of view/core elements that guide them in their businesses:

*Windows centricity

*Embrace and drive new hardware form factors

*Natural interface including gestures, touch, voice

*Cloud

*Enterprise and consumer

*First-party applications such as Office and “Halo”

Ballmer talked specifically about several products, including Windows Phone. “We haven’t sold as many as I would have hoped in the first year.” But with the latest update, Windows Phone 7.5 code-named “Mango,” coming onto the market, “I’m very optimistic on where I think we could be,” he said.

He talked about Xbox and Microsoft’s goal this year to dramatically increase the amount of content in its entertainment catalogue, particularly via partnership with video suppliers, and also with more live TV. Voice search using Bing is also coming to the Xbox this holiday season, he said.

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