Worldwide partner conference 2014A couple of Mirazon employees attended the Worldwide Partner Conference 2014 (WPC) in Washington, D.C. a couple weeks ago. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shared some insight to his vision for Microsoft going forward. Since being appointed, he’s made it clear that he’s doing away with some of the habits and practices of former management regimes. Satya Nadella clearly is bringing a fresh approach to Microsoft, this 22 year veteran knows the Microsoft Culture and aspires to do great things to empower Microsoft Customers.

Here are some of the announcements and new product demos that Microsoft delivered last week at WPC:

  • Skype Translator, which translates live speech, was demonstrated and is in beta, coming soon to a released version.
  • Project Sienna beta announced: a tool for non-programmer, business folks easily to develop line of business apps.
  • There will be no Windows Licensing cost on 9” and smaller devices and Microsoft said we would see sub-$100 Windows-poweredtablets by Christmas!
  • Azure Machine Learning, using analytics to allow users to easily mine gathered data for predictions on future trends or behavior, unleashing the value of the data that we already have.
  • Satya Nadella on Big Data: “The place where we [Microsoft] will truly shine is around insights.” The value in big data is in the analysis, using tools like PowerView, PowerPivot, PowerQ&A. A culture of data is developing.
  • Delve, which is a new search technology where relevant data will find you instead of users presenting keywords, was announced. As Microsoft describes it, “Delve highlights key information of interest to you, based on what you are working on and the actions of people in your network.” See a demo of Delve.

There are also a few themes that emerged last week at WPC:

Cloud First, Mobile First

Nadella even joked that he did understand that generally, two things can’t be first. However, the point here is that Microsoft is realizing the importance of both the cloud and mobile devices in the user’s every day life. With telecommuting, BYOD practices, and an overall blurring of personal and professional boundaries, both the cloud and mobile qualities of Microsoft’s products areore and more important. According to Nadella:

We’re going to do the best job of being able to enable dual use. This entire notion that somehow I buy my device for consumption and personal use, and then I’ll give up that device for work and take another device, just doesn’t work. We know that. Simply saying even just BYOD is not good enough. We’ve got to harmonize this dual use.

Cloud Operating System

Microsoft has a holistic infrastructure experience in its crosshairs. Along with a streamlined Skype, Lync and OneDrive experience for both consumer and enterprise clients, Microsoft will deliver an integrated stack of cloud services and applications, integrating components such as Office 365, Azure and Dynamics CRM.

We’re the only company that’s going to build that enterprise-grade infrastructure that meets the realities of the geopolitics of the world, the regulatory regime of the world and yet gives them the hyper-scale economics, so that means we are the company that can provide the data center backlink for all computing needs of a complex enterprise private cloud, public cloud and hybrid cloud.

Culture Shift

Just months into Nadella’s administration, it was clear it was no longer Ballmer’s company. While rumors circulated about layoffs at Microsoft, Nadella made it clear at WPC that restructuring and re-establishing culture are essential in reigniting innovation. Nadella commented that the success of Microsoft’s new cloud OS and initiatives “will only happen if we’re successful at renewing our culture. That’s the hardest part, really. The technology stuff is the simpler thing.”

Corporate structure shakeups have been the stuff of technology pundit speculations since Nadella’s appointment, and Microsoft laid off the lion’s share of the Nokia division last week.

Nadella seems to have inspired a healthy amount of optimism since he took the role of CEO in February. Microsoft’s stock value has surged 23 percent in his first five months alone. Even in the wake of Microsoft’s layoffs this and last week, stock prices still grew. The layoffs appear to be in the spirit of repositioning and restructuring, and less out of financial strain.

We’re excited to see what Microsoft rolls out in the coming year.