Microsoft's top eight business priorities for fiscal 2014

Microsoft's top eight business priorities for fiscal 2014

Summary: Selling Windows 8 tablets and apps, competing with Google and leveraging big data top the list of Microsoft's business priorities for its coming year.


While rumors swirl about how Microsoft is expected to reorganize as it heads into its fiscal 2014, there's less uncertainty around the top business priorities for the company in the coming year.

At its annual worldwide partner conference in Houston this week, Microsoft is showing and telling its reseller partners -- who are, in effect, the bulk of Redmond's sales force -- the areas on which they should be focusing in fiscal 2014.


The real (and more intentionally controversial) version of Microsoft's priority list will be the topic of the July 10 keynote at the partner conference, thanks to Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner's piece of the morning keynote.

But there's a less staged version of Turner's expected remarks. Here's a slide the Softies showed during a July 9 session for its large account resellers (LARs), who've been rechristened as LSPs (Licensing Solution Partners), listing its top sales priorities:

  • Lead with Windows 8 tablets and apps
  • Win against Google every time with Office 365 (something Turner personally committed to help happen at last year's partner show)
  • Drive Yammer, SharePoint, CRM (and voice with Lync/Skype)
  • In consumerization of IT scenarios, sell benefits of management, security, productivity and app-dev
  • Eradicate Windows XP; replace with newer Windows/Office versions
  • Win against AWS and VMware with Hyper-V, System Center and Azure
  • Push SQL Server with BI/big-data, data warehousing and OLTP
  • Lead with CRM and Dynamics AX

Nothing too surprising here. But some of the statistics Microsoft management used to attempt to incent the partners to sell in the coming year were worth noting.

More than 10 million PC will be affected by the pending Windows XP end-of-life date of April 8, 2014, said Corporate Accounts and Partner Sales Vice President Geoff Nyheim. More than 40,000 of Microsoft's new customers are currently spending less than $25,000 with the company, Nyheim said.

Eighty-nine percent of Microsoft's existing business cusomters are still not yet using any products in the Microsoft cloud (meaning primarily Office 365, Windows Azure, Windows Intune and Windows CRM). While about 30,000 of Microsoft's "managed"/largest customers across all geographies are currently annuity/subscription clients, the remaining 40,000 or so have no annuity relationship with Microsoft today, officials said.

This doesn't mean LSPs and other partners have been slacking, Microsoft execs stressed. During the LAR keynotes today at the partner show, Microsoft officials noted that LSP revenues grew in the double digits last year. Along with Microsoft's own salesforce, these partners helped sell 11,000 new Enterprise Agreement volume-license deals last year, along with 8,400 volume renewals, officials told the LARs/LSPs today. 

Topics: Microsoft, Big Data, IT Priorities, Tablets, PCs, Windows, Business Intelligence, Social Enterprise, Windows 8


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Interesting slides

    The first two is already happening... iPads are dumped in favour of Win 8 tablets, and nobody wants Google apps. The only Google apps sales that are happening are thru politics bribes.

    Yammer, Lync and Skype will see tremendous growth in big enterprise in coming years.

    As Ballmer put it in the recent Build 2013 conference, the future of MS is very bright.
    • No, iPads are not being replaced by Windows 8 tablets

      Windows 8 tablets are a very small subset of the tablet market at present. They're a distant third place at best. And since they were late to the mini category, their opportunity to shave the lead was delayed further.

      iPads have a wide variety of LOB apps for tablet purposes (in hospitals, inventory taking, and restaurant management) and don't expect to see Windows momentum until that app gap is closed.
      • Gap closed...

        OK, I can already roll out Windows 8 systems-- fully managed, thanks to Group Policy and System Center-- that can interface with absolutely any device on the planet and run any application. In fact, I can't think of a single iOS app that's business-focused that doesn't look like a toy compared to what Windows applications can do for productivity.

        And with so many form factor options available now, and Windows 8.1 on the horizon addressing a lot of 8's usability shortcomings, it's not hard to believe that Windows systems will again be champions in the marketplace in the coming years.

        Let's not be stupid and claim the death of Apple or Google, of course, but I get far more advantages supporting Microsoft than working against them... regardless of whether I'm an Apple or Google user, but choosing Microsoft gets me everything I get on those platforms and then some.
        • Those "productivity" "Windows apps" are almost all, with few exceptions

          Windows Forms apps - NOT touch apps. The iPad has a MUCH larger stable of touch oriented business apps.
        • You might want to talk to WinTard in PC World

          He provides very educational posts about what you just said in yours, and he's one of the few pro-Win8 people there who actually show ADVANTAGES in Windows 8. Thought you'd want to know this, in case you wish to talk to him.
          • Oh, I forgot to say WinTard is in PC World forums

            Sorry for the lapse.
      • Not sure

        But your stats are not correct. Win8 tabs are growing and iPads are indeed shrinking. Hence whether you word that as iPads being replaced or Win8 tabs just being preferred, not sure, but they are NOT a "distant third". In the smartphone space, WP8 is a distant 3rd, not in tablets. Sorry.
        • Distant 3rd

          iPads aren't shrinking, they're growing (up 65% YoY the first quarter of this year) while Windows 8 tablet sales have been disappointing to say the least.
        • No, I'm sorry

          Windows 8 tablets are in third place. They are behind Android tablets, and iOS tablets (iPad.) This is beyond any sort of dispute at all.
      • Which do you want?

        A tablet with Android or iOS which are basically consumption devices (yes, they are fun to play with, and can do a little work).


        A tablet which is a consumption device (for play) with a full desktop OS which is a fully functional computing device.

        When I found the most useful app on my Nexus7 was Team Viewer, so I could remotely access my desktop, I realized the true value Win8+ tablets will provide. MS needs to get the app store filled with some goodies, but that will come, and soon, when developers realize what's in it for them.

        RT is a mistake, but 8+ is the future of computing. Hands down.
    • Believe what you like

      You might like to believe that...but it's just not happening. Windows tablet market has stopped growing at just below 2% of the market. Sales were slow and are now non-existant.
    • LOL

      The Muppet Ballet.....
    • partly true

      In Biz, I see more momentum for Win8 tans than even a few months ago but this doesn't mean more than ipad. You still have average consumer wanting to use their ipad at work.

      Conversely, I never hear anyone talking about Google Docs in a positive manner anymore. For some reason Google Docs was sacred and no one would speak negatively of it. That has changed for some reason.
  • Microsoft's top eight business priorities for fiscal 2014

    This is great to know. This is a huge challenge for MSFT. The "win" against their competitors is the most challenging. What is MSFT's top eight consumer priorities for FY 2014?
    lenalfred DaredDarkurious
  • Win Against VMware...

    They might not be that far off at this point. As I prepare a major rollout of electronic health records for my hospital, I'm reevaluating the costs associated with VMware. No ignoring the fact that even with just a few host servers, it's expensive, and I still have to license Windows Server Datacenter Edition for my guest OS's.

    And yet, if I license just WSDE, I can run Hyper-V Server 2012 as the host OS and then run WDSE on top it and bypass VMware altogether. What do I get in return? Pretty much the same enterprise-grade features as VMware. If I want a centralized management experience, I can license System Center (which I already do)... so still cheaper than VMware.

    Prior to 2012 edition, Hyper-V was a non-starter anything beyond small virtualization environments, particularly where disaster recovery and expandability was concerned. Now, there are very few major features missing (and all very high scale features that most businesses wouldn't need), and 2012 R2 looks like it might close the gap further.

    Since I'm already a Microsoft supporter, I'm far more inclined to take it seriously and explore my options knowing I can keep costs lower for my IT department.
    • GoodThings2Life you should

      be a brochure for Microsoft....
      • Yes, I should...

        ...and yet I'm not, because I think for myself after researching the topics I'm interested in. Microsoft makes plenty of mistakes by being big and disorganized, but at the end of the day I'm still better off using their solutions than hiding in my walled garden or joining the anarchy movement. I just prefer function over form.
  • I see a problem...

    "•In consumerization of IT scenarios, sell benefits of management, security, productivity and app-dev"

    Umm, where is the "fun" in their push?
    • they just don't get it

      from the beginning the term "consumerization of IT" shows confusion. COnsumers, at large don't want, and don't need IT for whatever management, security, productivity they are offering.

      Consumers want to be entertained, and informed. They consume content, and they communicate/socialize. They/we want a device that just works. No IT involved, at all.

      And as a developer I don't see any value (or market share) investing on W8. iOS is what matter, and Android. Whatever you see a banking app, or public transport, or fidelity program, or retail, shopping, etc, all development is iOS and Android. There is a reason for that.

      Considering MS precarious states of affair, is kind of tragic, or comic, that the assault on consumer market is based on consumerization of IT! Very curious to see the next 12 months, how the strategy unfold...
      • You nailed it.

        Which is why Microsoft is failing and will continue to fail with its mobile "strategy", namely this notion of "consumerization of IT". Such an approach would be equivalent to Navistar International, who makes the tractors for 18 wheelers, deciding they needed to suddenly and desperately get into the consumer automobile market, and the only way they could think to do that was to make tiny, passenger-sized 18-wheelers.
        The equivalent approach by Microsoft shows just how intellectually bankrupt they are when it comes to innovation. The fact is that the average consumer is desperately FLEEING from all the myriad of Windows problems they've been forced to endure for decades. iOS and Android devices are successful precisely because they ARE NOT WINDOWS and they JUST WORK and they are SIMPLE devices for SIMPLE use! Consumers don't need and don't want an 18-wheeler to dash to the grocery store with to pick up a few groceries.

        Even worse, in addition to plastering the horrifically awful Metro UI GUI on top of Windows 8 so Microsoft could pretend an 18-wheeler is an automobile, Microsoft also made the completely insane decision to try to FORCE their entire installed enterprise and SMB base to embrace that same horrifically awful, productively killing, unintuitive, ergonomically destructive touch interface on ALL PCs! Continuing to use the 18-wheeler analogy, it would be like Navistar International deciding to put automobile controls in their REAL 18-wheelers in addition to the mini 18-wheelers they were pretending were automobiles.

        As a consequence of this total ineptitude, Microsoft doesn't have a snowball's chance in Hades of becoming anything more than a niche player in consumer mobile, while at the same time totally alienating their bread and butter enterprise and SMB customers.

        Right now, Microsoft is at the point with their disastrous Windows 8/Windows RT/Metro UI/Apps Store mobile strategy as Barnes and Noble is with their failed me-too nook strategy, and I predict that, like CEO William Lynch, Ballmer will be forced to leave Microsoft within a year. If Microsoft is lucky, they can then woo back their POd enterprise and SMB customers with Windows 9. If Microsoft persists with the insanity of trying to foist Metro UI and touch on industrial customers, Microsoft will be in real trouble.
        Asok Smith