I’m in Los Angeles this week, at our Worldwide Partner Conference. It’s the biggest event LA will host this year and attracts 15,000 attendees from 120 countries, generating over $45 million in revenue for the city. I’ve been helping out during our keynote sessions each morning and immersing myself in the world of partners – I should say re-immersing having spent 3 years in our Partner group in the UK.
It’s been a timely reminder of the breadth of Microsoft’s business and the scale of Microsoft’s partner world – with 640,000 partners globally generating more than 90% of our revenue. Those numbers are impressive but as impressive is the range of things these companies do with Microsoft technology. During the day 2 keynote we saw a video from Dynavox who have created technology to give people voice impairments the ability to speak. It was moving stuff.
We also saw a huge range of demos from Microsoft – Bing, Xbox, Lync, SQL, Office, Azure, Windows, Dynamics. You may or may not be familiar with the product names but put another way, we’re in the search business, music business, game business, TV business, communications business, database business, desktop applications business, cloud services business, operating system business and customer relationship management business. We’re in a lot of businesses which sometimes feels overwhelming but at WPC, it felt connected. Especially when you see slides like this one – it wasn’t just me who commented on the consistency that is being shown. It’s not just a user interface thing, it’s running deeper than that but perhaps nowhere more than in Xbox and Windows Phone right now which bring together so much of the Microsoft world.
Back to WPC though – it was great to hear partners talking about how much business they’re able to build on the Microsoft product portfolio. From OEM’s building digital displays using our embedded operating system to developers like NewsGator, building social applications. The EXPO hall is a place I’ve learned to avoid in the past as it’s sucked the energy out of me but this week, the massive hall felt open and with partners in the middle and Microsoft at the outside, the new design invited people in much more than before. Props to Laserfiche on perhaps the best marketing trick on show floor I have seen in a while – get a neck and back massage for free – but they have you in one spot for 5 minutes and that’s enough to show you their wares. I was sold.
We’re hearing from Sir Richard Branson today so I’ll add to this post once I have heard his comments – for now. I got the chance to present on Monday and talked about the future of natural technology that we’re now entering. Thanks to everyone who came to the session and stuck with us through the A/V issues!
I’ll have a few more posts over the next few days. For now, I’ll just say thanks to all of our partners for a great week, especially those who agreed to be interviewed by me on camera!