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Ballmer Touts Microsoft's 'Better Together' Theme at WPC

While it's hardly common to find someone with a Windows 8 PC and/or tablet, a Windows Phone and using Microsoft's portfolio of cloud services all at once, CEO Steve Ballmer today talked up his longstanding mantra that using the company's homogeneous collection of offerings will make individuals and IT pros more productive.

Speaking in the opening keynote address at Microsoft's annual Worldwide Partners Conference (WPC), taking place this week in Houston (keep up-to-date with the WPC news on our sister site,, Ballmer spoke of that symmetry both from the standpoint of running Windows 8 on multiple devices but also extended that message to public, private and hybrid clouds, making the claim that customers want one provider for all of those topologies.

Arguing the latter point, Ballmer cited an IDC survey commissioned by Microsoft that found 63 percent of its customers prefer to have a single cloud provider and 67 percent plan to purchase a variety of different cloud offerings from a single operator. The survey also found that 74 percent want the option to take a cloud offering back on premise. "We think we are the only solution and certainly the best solution for customers who want that," Ballmer said.

Also despite miniscule market share for Windows Phone, Ballmer promoted it as a key pillar of extending Windows 8 from the PC and tablet. "It's a little-known secret how unbelievably amazing those phones are," Ballmer acknowledged, as he talked up their tight integration with Office. "The ability to really get work done on a Windows Phone is nothing short of amazing," he said.

Ballmer asserted Microsoft is not backing down on its quest to convince IT that Windows Phone devices are a better alternative to iPhones and Android-based phones, which account for the vast majority of smartphones in use today. "We're going to continue to push hard with the consumer but we think we have a very compelling proposition for the enterprise," he said.

To make his case, Jenson Harris, Microsoft's director of program management for Windows User Experience, demonstrated a new capability introduced in the recently released Windows 8.1 Preview called Miracast that lets a user broadcast the image of their Windows Phone to a PC (or vice versa) using a whiteboard app.

While all of this may sound nice, the reality is Microsoft is living in a heterogeneous world and Ballmer was wise to note the fact that the company is adding support for other platforms, particularly from a systems management perspective.

Indeed Microsoft isn't the only company making its products work better together. Apple, Oracle and VMware, among others have similar philosophies. The question is, do you? Drop me a line at [email protected].

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 07/08/2013 at 1:15 PM


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