WPC Diary: Keynote


I'm not that a keynot fan, but a keynote from Steve Ballmer … you shouldn't miss that.  So, that's why I'm going with lots of expectation to the second keynote session of today (Tuesday).


To my surprise, it was not Steve Ballmer, but Chris Capossela that kicked off.  Yeah, well, may be Steve will join later… .   Chris is Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Division, Product Management Group.  Quite a big guy as well… .


What was it all about… .

It was going quite fast, but I'll try to recapitulate.  He was talking about Office, and that Office is not about lettres and spreadsheets anymore, but about business critical application workflow kind of stuff …  .  He showed a video of a dutch initiative (Eminus) that used Microsoft software to build an "online (virtual) classroom" for students that can't come to school due to some kind of handicap.  Impressive… .


Next, a demo of "Office Communication Server", and "Office communicator" by Chris himself:

  • Unified messaging built into exchange server:
    • Voicemail and faxes are delivered right in the inbox
    • In an email, hover over the contact, you can see (in a tooltip) what he/she is doing right now, when he will be free, … .
    • In Sharepoint/word/ … the same information available.
  • New capability in excel/office communicator:
    • Copy/paste rich text from excel to the communicator.
    • With one button, starting a high quality video conference call … .
    • With drag and drop the contact in the messenger window: a multi person video call …
  • Voip:
    • In office communicator: you can call any phone number you want (he showed that by calling someone in the audience.
    • During the call, he took some notes in OneNote (having most details of the call already filled in).


Next, he announced the IW Partner Skills Accelerator.  A 5 million dollar investment in Training and Certification, by free courses, study materials, … .  I'll try to get more info on that in the pavilion.


The rest was blabla, so I didn't take notes.  Sorry for that.


Next speaker was Mike Sievert, Corporate Vice President, Windows Business Group (Not "Division" … but "Group" Indifferent).  And he is going to talk about how vista translates to business opportunity.


This is Windows Vista now:

  • Customer adoption is going at record pace:
    • 40M units sold in first 100 days, outspacing XP
    • Strong growth in Volume License business
    • Enterprise agreement renewals at historic highs and new agreements growing fast.
  • Highest quality, most secure OS Microsoft has ever released
  • Compatibility is now at critical mass
    • The major critical enterprise apps now addressed
    • 2M devices supported
    • Record 10000 logo'd hardware & devices
    • 1900+ logo'd apps (up from 650+ at launch).


He talked about the new pack: MDOP: Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (for software assurance).  A short video showed us what it was about.  The video went too fast to write down everything.  The main idea (in my opinion) is that this pack provides some tools to admin the apps on the desktop (like application compatibiliy, security, policy, …) .

Mike went deeper into the "application virtualization" component of the pack, called "Softgrid Management".  In the management console of this tool, you can add an application to a AD user or group.  Now, that group can use this application without a logical installation on the desktop.  They call this "application virtualitzation".


Again, a rambling of marketing fluff … .


Next … finally … Steve Ballmer.  With the right amount of shouting, handshaking, running and hand clapping, he kicked off saying "thank you" to us, partners, for earning his bonus Smile.  His first first really kicked in: "You guys ENERGIZE me …".

He is going to talk how we can work together … how we can have the same view … how we can "enable potential".  (between brackets: I'm having trouble to enjoy this, because I've been sitting here for 2,5 hours on the same chair ... so my ass hurts like hell).

First a bit of history, about how Microsoft evolved from a "desktop company" to an "enterprise company".  Next a bit of future blabla.  How user experiences is going to be very important. 

Next a demo of Microsoft Silverlight:

Silverlight is a "cross platform browser".  A way to deploy your application on any platform (using a browser interface).  He showed this also with Firefox as well.

Very neat is also the Silverlight Player.  Rendering video in high quality, multi video's at a time (9), running on firefox and all … .  Still a concept/prototype, but impressive.

Silverlight Airlines was a concept about graphically (via browser) booking a flight by drawing an arrow (from/to) on a map… .  Quite intuitive interface.


That was all.  Conclusion is: Steve is a real entertainer, and Microsoft is working on some interesting stuff.  Disappointing that not one word was on Dynamics… .

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