Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer heaped praise on his firm's channel partners at its Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) as he laid out plans for the vendor's new fiscal year.
Ballmer opened the Houston event - which attracted some 16,000 attendees - by pouring praise on its channel partners, and thanking them for their partnerships - prompting a rapturous reception from the audience.
He claimed that in the last 12 months, revenue through its global partner network grew 6.5 per cent annually to $650bn, a figure he congratulated and thanked the audience for. Additionally, he claimed some 90 per cent of the overall business' revenue was touched in some way by partners.
Ballmer said Microsoft's Office 365, Server 2012, Dynamics, Azure, Surface, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 offerings all played their part in transforming the firm from a software company to one focused on services and devices, which has happened with the help of its partners.
"We need our partners to come with us on [the] journey. Whether you build computers or deliver systems integration services, there is a place for all of us," he said.
"At Microsoft we say ‘what is our unique point of view?' It is in delivering high-value experiences through our software, value-added devices and experiences. We understand the tools and technology it takes to help people get work done better than anyone else on planet... We together understand, and we together will deliver the devices and services that really bring these things alive."
The fiscal year ahead
For the coming fiscal year, FY14, which began last week on 1 July, Ballmer (picutred speaking at the event) said that cloud, mobility, big data and social enterprise are the four pillars of its strategy.
Ballmer claimed Microsoft is in a unique competitive position when it comes to the cloud.
"There are really no companies in the world - just handful - [which are] really investing in the public cloud," he said. "We have over one million servers in our datacentre infrastructure. Google is bigger than us, Amazon is a bit smaller-[then there is] Yahoo and Facebook.
"The number of companies who understand... public cloud is very, very small. The number of companies [also] investing in private cloud - which is not going away - and hybrid [cloud], is really just one, and that is just us."
He added that big data is still in its early stages, but that partners are set to cash in selling tools - such as its Sequel Server offering - which help organisations best mine the growing amount of information. Some 90 per cent of all the world's data was created in the last two years, he pointed out.
Social enterprise is not just one product offering, added Ballmer, who claimed the firm is trying to integrate as many social-focused tools into its wider product set in the coming year, citing the Yammer integration into Outlook as an example of its success in the last year.
In the coming twelve months, Ballmer said the firm's assortment of mobile devices - including phones, tablets and PCs - will be hugely important for the firm.
"Windows two-in-ones, which depending on how you configure them will feel like a PC or a tablet - I happen to think this will be the most popular configuration for business people because they want the ability to seamlessly go back and forth between personal [and work] lives. [Also] what we're doing with Surface is amazing - we're leading the way with the use of the pen, which is key in mobility."
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