Opening with the bang of Cirque du Soleil drums and the flash of fire, the Microsoft World Partner Conference 2012 launched today in our Softchoice hometown of Toronto, Canada. As expected, Microsoft made a big splash with some significant announcements about the company’s future and what’s in store for customers moving forward.
Demonstrating this year’s tagline of “A new era.Together,” the major soundbites from today’s keynote reflected Microsoft’s commitment to increased collaboration, enhanced consumer experience and expanded communication.
The Softchoice team was on hand to tweet the announcements to our Softchoice Microsoft Navigator audience as they rolled in. To keep an eye on all that’s happening at the 2012 WPC this week, follow us @scmsnavigator.
Here’s a recap of the top 5 big announcements from today’s events:
- Tami Reller, Corporate VP & CFO, Microsoft, delivered the news we’ve all been waiting for; it’s official: Windows 8 RTM is on track for release the first week of August. General Win8 release is scheduled for late October.
- Steve Ballmer stated that Surface is a major design focus for Win8 and that Microsoft will have a spectrum of stunning devices in the future. That big tease left the audience wondering what’s actively being worked on right now and Ballmer alluded to more stealthy Surface-like announcements coming soon. It’s clear that Microsoft is being aggressive in its pursuit of hardware development and improved design practice.
- Ballmer announced the acquisition of Perceptive Pixel, a large-scale multi-touch stylus display maker and the company behind CNN’s “magic wall.” Microsoft is clearly making an investment in rethinking the merge of design and technology for the end user. OneNote, Skype and Lync are all expected to integrate and leverage the hardware.
- With Microsoft Office now installed on over a billion desktops worldwide, Office 365 for education and government debuted, and even bigger news, Office 365 Open announced an open licensing program.
- The recent Yammer acquisition was addressed and cited as a “best of breed product that will fundamentally change how Microsoft and its partners communicate and collaborate.”
In a future post, Softchoice thought leaders will weigh in on the importance and impact of the Yammer purchase for our customers and how it positions Microsoft as a leader in the incorporation and integration of social media in the enterprise.
Finally, the highlight of the day for Softchoice: we were recognized as Microsoft’s 2012 World Wide Sales Operations Partner of the Year at the Microsoft WPC awards luncheon.
Stay tuned to The Navigator this week as we share live updates from the floor of the Microsoft World Partner Conference in Toronto!