Microsoft's top eight business priorities for fiscal 2014

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.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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. 

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