Microsoft will embrace the consumerization of IT with a four-pronged strategy, according to remarks made by COO Kevin Turner during a July 13 keynote at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles.
The first pillar involved a "reimagining of Windows," Turner told the audience. This apparently means educating customers about Windows' spread beyond the traditional desktop and laptop to other form-factors such as tablets. Windows 8, which is widely expected to debut sometime in 2012, will be available on tablets thanks to Microsoft's newfound commitment to SoC (system-on-a-chip) architecture, in particular ARM-based systems from companies such as Nvidia.
Turner suggested that Windows' presence on both ARM- and x86-based systems would "open up a whole array of opportunities in which to compete."
Despite Microsoft's unveiling of Windows 8, the company plans to continue pushing Windows 7 along with other flagship products such as Office 2010-a combined drive that apparently constitutes the second of Turner's pillars. This is unsurprising, considering how those products are responsible for the lion's share of Microsoft's bottom line, despite the company's "all-in" cloud strategy.
As part of the third pillar, Microsoft is committing itself to what Turner called "the best possible productivity experience." The fourth pillar is something he called "driving customer satisfaction." Those seem to be givens for any company marketing products to a large consumer base, but part of the keynote speakers' role at these conferences is to re-energize the partner base to certain fundamental concepts.
Aside from pumping up the troops, Turner did offer some concrete information about Microsoft's plans. Backward compatibility with Windows 7 will be embedded into Windows 8. Microsoft plans on opening some 75 branded stores over the next two to three years. And the company really, really wants its customers to move away from antiquated platforms such as Windows XP and Internet Explorer 6.
Microsoft has been using the WPC to push its cloud offerings and other products. Announcements during the company's July 12 keynotes included the upcoming release of a System Center 2012 beta, which lets IT administrators manage machines and applications across a system of public and private clouds, along with SQL Server Code Name "Denali" CTP3 (Community Technology Preview 3) and SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1, both of which are available via the Microsoft SQL Server Team Blog.
In addition, Microsoft revealed plans to make the next Dynamics CRM Online update available in the fourth quarter. Mobility is also a focus: During the second day of the conference, the company offered peeks at its upcoming Windows Phone devices designed by Acer, Fujitsu, ZTE and Samsung, all of which will presumably run the upcoming "Mango" update.