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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

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333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
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WWW: acer.com

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July 14, 2014 |

Microsoft’s WPC 2014 Vision Keynote – Productivity and Cloud Focus with a Challenger Mindset

With a bold new CEO at the helm who just penned a note to employees outlining a refined mobile first, cloud first vision, more than 16,000 descended upon Washington D.C. this morning for Day 1 of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC).

With a bold new CEO at the helm who just penned a note to employees outlining a refined mobile first, cloud first vision, more than 16,000 descended upon Washington D.C. this morning for Day 1 of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC).

No doubt Microsoft’s competition for the business market is heating up, thanks in part to competitors like Google, with Google Apps and Chrome OS. Lackluster enthusiasm for products like Windows 8 on desktops and mobile devices hasn’t helped keep Windows and Microsoft in the forefront of some minds.

Phil Sorgen, Corporate VP of the Worldwide Partner Group, believes that Microsoft “is still coming from a position of strength.” He quickly notes that Windows + Office together account for more than a billion (that’s billion with a B) users, pointing out that Office 365 has become the fastest-growing commercial product in the company’s history.

Read “Meet Phil Sorgen, Microsoft’s New Channel Chief

Although late to the game, Azure is gaining an impressive foothold in the cloud computing market among Fortune 500 businesses, and is growing rapidly with 8,000 new customers per week.

Both Office 365 and Azure represent an incredible opportunity for partners. According to Microsoft, 35 percent of Azure revenue comes from Microsoft channel partners, while a whopping 75 percent of all Office 365 licenses are sold by partners.

Microsoft stresses that in a mobile-first and cloud-first world, it and its partners must have a “challenger mindset” to grow and prosper. I’d say the most amazing statement came from COO Kevin Turner, who noted that Microsoft’s market share is just 14 percent of all computing platforms (phone, tablet, PCs, etc.) added together. A mobile-first/cloud-first vision puts Microsoft in a stronger position to compete. It may sound like blasphemy to those who love Microsoft’s OS products, like Windows and Windows Phone, but with only 14 percent total market share as the OS platform across all devices, Office and productivity makes more sense as the driving point of competition.

Of course, Turner pointed out that the company’s goal is to continue offering the best experience on Windows. For those who may not see the difference, previously Microsoft used exclusivity to lure users to the Windows OS. Actually offering a better experience without ignoring rival platforms is very akin to the old “carrot vs. stick” debate. Carrot seems to be the focus these days, which explains Microsoft’s zero-dollar pricing for Windows on devices under nine inches. Turner promised that OEMs will have new, inexpensive devices coming later this year, including sub-$100 tablets and full Windows PCs at $249. Time will tell if people like carrots more than candy, a la Google’s Kit-Kat-powered Android devices.

As expected, Turner informed partners to expect a lot of emphasis on products like CRM Online, OneNote, and Enterprise Mobility Suite, which are all productivity products that Microsoft can sell as services across all platforms, and differentiate itselffrom competition effectively. Whatever the company does, it’s not afraid to take on the challenge and make hard decisions, stating that it will do “whatever is necessary to win and delight partners and customers in the marketplace.”

Cloud first, remember? To help bring partners forward with the company into selling cloud services, Microsoft also announced many changes to partner programs. For example, Cloud Accelerate, Cloud Deployment, and Cloud Circle programs will be retired, and Microsoft will instead integrate the cloud into the Microsoft Partner Network. There’s a lot to digest and talk about when it comes to Microsoft’s program changes, so check out this post with more details on all the changes.

The ChannelPro Network’s Joel Zaidspiner contributed to this report


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