TORONTO — I’ll be live blogging the WPC keynote here this morning, starting at 9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT. Scheduled to speak today are Steve Ballmer, Tami Reller and Kurt DelBene.
The following is in reverse chronological order:
Final thoughts: The morning’s big news:
* Microsoft confirms it’s on track for Windows 8 RTM in first week of August; and for general availability by late October. (see 9:50 a.m. entry)
* Microsoft announces it’s acquiring large-scale, multi-touch company Perceptive Pixel (see 10:21 a.m. entry)
* Microsoft announces Office 365 Open program. (see 9:30 a.m. entry)
10:50 a.m.: Jon Roskill back on stage. It’s a wrap.
10:30 a.m.: Karlgaard says Microsoft’s moves on collaboration — acquisition of Skype, etc — coming together. Asks him to talk more about that.
Ballmer: With Windows 8, you can roam, do mark ups – changes how you work dramatically. (With the large-screen Windows 8), it’s a white board, video conferencing session, screen share, ability to have everyone see diagrams. Microsoft working on affordability, accessibility.
Karlsgaard asks for Ballmer’s final thoughts. (Ballmer’s microphone is dying… He says: “I will not be held down!”.)
(Ballmer’s microphone working now.) Ballmer: “This year is the most important year.” Says all his time at Microsoft – “this year is really unparalleled.” “It’s the core of Microsoft reinventing itself for a modern era.” “This is the year for all of us. Let’s take advantage of it and succeed together”
10:21 a.m.: Back to Ballmer and Karlgaard.
Ballmer: “There’s one more thing we’d like to show.” Says Microsoft is acquiring a company called Perceptive Pixel. Says that company is a leader in multitouch stylish displays.
Founder Jeff Han of Perceptive Pixel takes the stage. Demos how Perceptive Pixel technology can work with Windows 8 on a large-scale screen. Demonstrates touch capabilities with PPI on a large (conference room screen-sized) Windows 8 screen: ability to pinch and zoom, see in great detail, to mark up content on screen with a stylus while also manipulating that content with your other hand.
9:50 a.m.: Windows CFO Tami Reller takes the stage.
Reller: Windows 8 on track to RTM in first week in August. Will have general availability in October. Meaning Windows 8 devices will be on store shelves by late October.
Reller: More than 630 million Windows 7 licenses sold. More than half of enterprise desktop today running Windows 7.
Reller shows off some upcoming Windows 8 devices. Says those who buy a Windows 7 PC today will be able to update to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99. Reller also shows a Windows RT running on ARM tablet. It’s a developer device from Qualcomm.
Reller then shows Windows To Go – a USB stick that can install and run Windows 8, company apps, BitLocker, and any personal data you want to store. “It really is its own separate Windows installation.”
Reller says commerce platform will go live with RTM.
9:45 a.m.: Ballmer: In the next 12 months, forecast is for 375 million new Windows PCs to be sold. Emphasizes the opportunity of not just the large Windows install base but the run rate.
Ballmer says Surface, while a leading device, is “a design point. It will have a distinct place. … The importance of thousands of partners will not diminish…. We may sell a few million of the 375 million” but need diversity of devices.
9:30 a.m.: Office President Kurt DelBene takes the stage. Office 2010 begin deployed five times faster than Office 2007. It’s over a billion user desktops worldwide today. SharePoint, Lync growing in double digits.
DelBene: A year since we launched Office 365. Cites customers such as Lowe’s with 200,000 customers; Burger King; Japan Airlines.
Question from Karlsgaard on what they’ve heard from partners.
DelBene: They’ve said they like to make it simpler to sell products and make more money on every transaction.
Says Microsoft has addressed both of those. Announcing today the Office 365 Open Program. (Moment of silence before scattered applause since audience probably doesn’t know what it is yet.) DelBene says this means you get to bill directly to customers; you get to present a single package to customers; can package your own value-added with Office 365.
Also, partners can own up to 23 points of margin in first year alone. That’s up to 11 points more.
Karlgaard: What can partners to do help their customers transform their capabilities to cloud?
Ballmer: “We’re entering into the broader world of the cloud.” “It’s about public and private clouds and hybrid clouds. With Windows Server 2012 and Windows Azure, we’re trying to give you the only seamless environment….you get solutions that can be deployed in a customer’s data center, in a partner’s data center, in Microsoft’s data center.” From Windows to Office to Dynamics – in cloud.
Question from Karlgaard on Yammer acquisition.
DelBene: “Social is a part of everything that goes on. … And growing on the enterprise side as well. ” Says Yammer is best of class product model; emphasizes Yammer’s viral adoption model and experience of Yammer in enterprise social space.
Tells partners to emphasize opportunities for Yammer as well as SharePoint.
Ballmer: The Yammer acquisition fun and interesting. Emphasizes viral adoption model. It’s a service that you can pick and use, but also have as security and manageability. We bring more Microsoft content – SharePoint, etc – to Yammer. “it becomes an additional feeder system”
DelBene also talks about how Yammer could integrate with SharePoint, Office client, Skype. Will roll out roadmap in that in not to distant future.
Karlgaard asks about Office. DelBene says Office 15 will have more opportunities for partners than Office 2010.
9:22 a.m.: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard takes the stage.
Ballmer: $690 billion represented by Microsoft partners. Grew 13% last year.
Ballmer says Microsoft growing the number of partners selling cloud solutions 10% a month. Adding about 1,000 partners a month.
Ballmer says this is going to be “the most epic year in Microsoft history.” In past few months, showed off Xbox browsing, Halo 4, Bing’s major new release, Skype acquisition – over 250 million monthly users, Windows Phone 8, Dynamics, Windows Server 2012, Azure, Yammer for Office, etc. And, of course, release preview of Windows 8, OEM devices with Windows 8, Surface.
Ballmer: “Windows 8 is simply the biggest deal of your company in 17 years. … It’s a huuuuuge opportunity, a huuuuuuge opportunity for our partners.”
9:10 a.m.: Jon Roskill, Microsoft CVP of worldwide partner group, takes the stage.
Roskill: “Microsoft and its partners are getting it right. We’re on to something big.” Says last year, he stood on stage and said Microsoft and its partners are being vastly underestimated. Says that’s not happening any more.
Roskill: Says Microsoft will be acknowledged as the leader in cloud. “This is the year we’re going to make it happen and WPC is the launchpad.”
9:03 a.m.: Show beginning. Drummers, dancers, spinning metal cube, spinning geometric torch thingies courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.
8:42 a.m.: The Air Canada Centre is beginning to fill up for the keynote this morning: