Microsoft COO Kevin Turner believes Google Apps customers need to be thrown a life preserver and be rescued. Speaking at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2015, Turner made clear the difference in beliefs of the two companies, explicitly bringing up concerns customers have regarding privacy when it comes to Google. “We have better technology, and we have an enterprise-ready cloud, we don’t snoop through email, we don’t serve you apps, we don’t drive cars around listening to your conversations, we are not that company,” said Turner.
With the rumours of Microsoft discontinuing its smartphoneslooming large after the recent job cuts (that Turner dispelled), Turner aimed to get Microsoft partners on board the company’s plans to push their cloud offerings. “The cloud is really where the growth is,” Turner said. Half the licensing agreements that Microsoft signed with enterprise customers in its last fiscal quarter had cloud components, up by 50 percent from the same time a year ago, he said.
Turner also talked numbers for Azure — the company has doubled new customers over the last quarter, Azure compute services use doubled as well. Five million businesses are now using Azure Active Directory services. Recently Microsoft revealed some programmes to get startups on board too. It launched the BizSpark Plus programme for startups in India. As part of this programme, the company will offer $120,000 per year of free Azure Cloud services to each of the qualified startups. The startups can use $10,000 worth of credits monthly, to invest in Microsoft services to power their business. In addition to partnering with 13 startup accelerators in India, Microsoft is partnering with 150 startup accelerators in 47 countries to deploy this programme.
BI and collaboration tools were also being talked about at the Partner Conference. Innovations in that area included the demo of an app called Project GigJam – an app for PCs, tablets and smartphones that lets users pull up business information onscreen, remove data that need not be shared, select items that need to and then send it out. In all, a collaboration tool for controlled screen sharing of data. The Cortana Analytics Suite was also unveiled here that uses voice interactions to combine Microsoft’s Power BI and Microsoft machine learning tools to pull in big data and provide actionable intelligence on it, including underlying patterns, causes and predictions.
Another interesting development is the introduction of a new premium Office 365 enterprise suite called E5. E5 will encompass the core value of Office 365 productivity and collaboration capabilities, as well as significant new innovations, including new Skype for Business services such as Cloud PBX and Meeting Broadcast; Power BI & analytics features, like Power BI Pro and Delve Organizational Analytics; and new advanced security features, such as eDiscovery, Customer Lockbox, and Advanced Threat Protection.