[This story is running in the print edition of The Seattle Times July 12, 2012. – Janet I. Tu]
TORONTO — On the third day of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner gave his customary rally-the-troops pep talk during the morning keynote, talking about successes in the past fiscal year and plans for the current one.
Turner emphasized the cloud, saying revenue from cloud services grew more than 100 percent across almost all Microsoft offerings and that the company aspires to have continuous cloud service to every person on the planet.
He said deployment was at an all-time high for Windows 7 and Office 2010, with more than 50 percent of desktop PCs in large businesses on Windows 7.
Turner acknowledged the company got into virtualization “a little late,” but said Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization platform won share against competitor VMware for the first time last quarter. Virtualization technology involves software that creates a “virtual” version of a device, server, network or operating system.
Turner urged the partners to pitch Office 365 to their customers, saying the online version of Office “is our collective future. And make no mistake. Google is out there pitching our customers.”
He said that while SharePoint is the fastest-growing product in Microsoft’s history, Office 365 will probably take that honor next year.
He took a dig at Apple, saying that the rival company makes great hardware but that its philosophy on operating systems was stuck in the past. Apple’s approach is to make an operating system for desktops and laptops — the next version of which is called OS X Mountain Lion — and a separate one for mobile devices, iOS.
“Apple has it wrong,” Turner said, with its philosophy of a post-PC era, where the tablet and PC are very separate devices. “We believe Windows 8 is the new era for the PC-plus. We believe with a single push of a button, you can move seamlessly in and out of both worlds.”
The biggest launch for the company, of course, will be Windows 8, and Turner said the focus this fiscal year is “about Windows 8. Making sure we land Windows 8.”
With Windows 8, “for the first time in the history of operating systems, we’ll have the same user experience across the smartphone, tablet, slate, laptop, desktop and television with the Metro user interface,” he said.
Turner said the company would spend more than $9.4 billion in research and development this fiscal year, about $3 billion more than other tech companies.
He also talked about Microsoft Stores, saying the company plans to open holiday pop-up stores after the launch of Windows 8 in October, and that Microsoft will open its first non-mainland-U.S. stores in Puerto Rico and in Toronto.
Also speaking Wednesday was Jon Roskill, corporate vice president for Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Group.
He said Microsoft’s partner-generated revenue grew 114 percent last year — a feat he attributed to the introduction of Office 365.
He said Microsoft was increasing its budget for partner incentives by $200 million to $4.2 billion this fiscal year.
Next year’s Worldwide Partner Conference will be July 7-11 in Houston.