A summary of World Partner Conference

The Microsoft World Partner Conference (WPC) is an annual event where more than 16,000 people who earn their living selling Microsoft licenses, services or devices come together. For many it is a good time to connect, network and identify new business opportunities. Others come to see the latest news and demos from Microsoft product teams. During the conference, Microsoft’s top leadership (including new CEO Satya Nadella) share their vision of where the company is going. This year, the World Partner Conference was held in Washington, D.C.  If you couldn’t attend, this post will highlight some of the more interesting announcements you may have missed.

Reinventing Productivity

In a recent memo sent to all of Microsoft’s employees, CEO Satya Nadella reminded everyone how Microsoft was founded on the belief that technology creates opportunities for people; that it helps organizations express and achieve their dreams, and it did this by putting a PC on every desk in every home.

But years have passed and technology has advanced, so Microsoft needed to develop new strategies and create a new mandate. Its aim now is to reinvent productivity, to empower every person and every organization on the planet to do more and achieve more. In the conference keynote speech, Nadella explained his Microsoft vision: “Cloud first and mobile first.” Consequently, many of Microsoft's latest products will be adapted with those two elements in mind.

Office 365 and Yammer

One of the new features coming soon to Office 365 and Yammer is a product called Delve (previously codenamed ‘Oslo’), and this was featured prominently at the show. Delve is an upcoming tool that will bring information dynamically to users, instead of them having to search for it. It is a very exciting technology, based on the idea of the Enterprise Graph (invented by Yammer) but transformed to also include document, meeting and user data.

It was interesting to hear that Delve will be a cloud only product (residing in Yammer and O365) and that there are no current plans to bring this technology to on-premises systems. Another clear sign of Microsoft being “cloud first”.

Microsoft drops Android

Prior to being officially purchased by Microsoft, Nokia developed and released a new series of handsets for emerging markets called ‘Nokia X’. These devices all ran the Android operating system.  The rationale for this line of phones was the perception that Windows Phone didn’t run very well on low performance hardware, but this is something solved in later versions). 

Microsoft announced at the show that they are stopping their Android projects, and will focus solely on Windows Phone as a mobile operating system. Stephen Elop, the old CEO of Nokia and now a Vice President at Microsoft, sent an email to all staff outlining the plans:

“We will be particularly focused on making the market for Windows Phone. In the near term, we plan to drive Windows Phone volume by targeting the more affordable smartphone segments, which are the fastest growing segments of the market, with Lumia. In addition to the portfolio already planned, we plan to deliver additional lower-cost Lumia devices by shifting select future Nokia X designs and products to Windows Phone devices. We expect to make this shift immediately while continuing to sell and support existing Nokia X products.”

harmon.ie obviously takes an interest in this announcement, since we support all the major mobile operating system platforms with our mobile product offerings. With more and more apps coming to the Windows Phone platform and Microsoft’s plans to merge Windows Phone and Windows RT, we believe that Windows Phone will go be an interesting OS to follow. 

Here's to next year!

If there is one thing we took away from this year’s conference, it was that Microsoft is working hard to reinvent itself. Moving away from being a pure software offering, Microsoft wants to help its customers (and their customers) be more productive on a whole range of platforms. These are exciting times, and we are already looking forward to next year’s show in Orlando, Florida.

Ram Tagher
Product Manager