It's Advertising Week 2012 in New York the week of October 1. Given the countdown is on to the Windows 8 launch on October 25, it's not too surprising the Softies will be attending this event in force and talking up Windows 8 as an advertiser's dream.
Microsoft has been strategically placing graffiti-inspired Surface tablet ads on walls in various cities around the U.S. for the past few weeks. It looks like Microsoft plans to carry over the graffiti theme to the digital advertising side with Windows 8, as well, according to the Microsoft Advertising page for Advertising week.
"With the advent of Windows 8, Microsoft introduces a new advertising canvas. We are kicking the old way of digital advertising to the curb with something fresh, modern, and revolutionary. And we are looking for digital graffiti artists."
The Softies are also promising attendees of its Advertising Week activities a "sneak preview of the 'never been done before' engagement opportunities for brands to connect with consumers through Windows 8." Microsoft made the Microsoft Advertising software development kit (SDK) for Windows 8 generally available earlier this week. This is what will allow advertisers to take advantage of "Windows 8 Ads in Apps," according to a Microsoft blog post.
There's another Microsoft Advertising session slated for next week on how marketers can get their ads in Skype -- something Microsoft began rolling out (in the form of conversation ads on Skype Audio) earlier this year. Big data's importance in advertising will be another emphasis from the Microsoft team next week, as well.
Meanwhile -- from the "you learn something new every day" department -- I just found out that Qi Lu, President of Microsoft's Online Services Division -- home of Bing, MSN and Microsoft's online advertising -- has been head of the company's Global Foundation Services for about a year.
I noticed the addition of Global Foundation Services (GFS) to Lu's list of responsibilities via a new bio for him the site for adWeek 2012, which kicks off next week (October 1). Lu's bio on Microsoft's own Web site makes no mention of him overseeing GFS.
Lu's bio on the Advertising Week page reads:
"Dr. Qi Lu is the president of Microsoft's Online Services Division and leads Microsoft's online efforts, across search (Bing), portal (MSN), mobile, and the broader advertising platforms and services. In addition, he oversees the Global Foundation Services organization, which is Microsoft's global infrastructure, networking, and data center operations."
I asked Microsoft when Lu picked up responsibilites for GFS and was told this happened a year ago.
In 2011, Microsoft lost Kevin Timmons, who helped build the GFS datacenters, to CyrusOne (via a brief dalliance with Apple). Lu was made head of GFS while Timmons was still at Microsoft.
GFS is the unit charged with powering Microsoft's cloud services. All of them -- Xbox Live, Windows Azure, Windows Live, Office 365, MSN, Zune, Hotmail/Outlook.com, and Microsoft's own internal datacenters, too. In other words, GFS runs Microsoft's worldwide network of datacenters.