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Microsoft Inspire 2019 Recap: 11 Key Quotes

Microsoft wrapped up its annual Microsoft Inspire partner conference last week in Las Vegas with a lot of product news, business initiatives and demos.

Here are 11 quotes from the major Corenote addresses at the show that capture key moments showing what Microsoft is up to and where the company and its partners are heading.

1. Windows Server to Azure

There's a hard deadline coming at the beginning of the next calendar year. Windows Server 2008 reaches its end of support in January 2020, and Microsoft made sure partners understood that they should be moving those customers to the Azure cloud.

According to Microsoft's internal estimates, about 60 percent of its server install base is on Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008, which just passed its own support deadline earlier this month. Microsoft puts the market opportunity for those migrations at $50 billion.

2. Democratizing Digital

Democratizing digital is an emerging catchphrase for Microsoft. The quote above, which pulls together Althoff's point-by-point definition from a longer stretch, captures the key elements of the idea.

3. Listing the First-Class Citizens

Under Nadella, Microsoft has demonstrated, again and again, that Azure is the key. As long as Microsoft is getting revenues from Azure usage, it's putting less effort into all the other games Microsoft famously used to play to favor its own internal technologies over competitive technologies that also ran on its platforms.

4. SQL Database Hyperscale Demo

In a heavily promoted demo during Nadella's Corenote address, Kumar showed off Azure SQL Database Hyperscale with a massive amount of data. The demo involved feeding simulated data from a million vehicles into the relational database in the cloud to return operational insights across the entire fleet.

5. Boom Teams

"How many of you remember the explosive growth of SharePoint about a decade ago? Teams is already on a faster trajectory than that."

--Gavriella Schuster

Microsoft claimed during Inspire that the Teams collaboration service has reached more than 13 million daily active users, overtaking Slack on that metric sometime in June. Microsoft is aggressively encouraging partners to emphasize Teams, which combines chat, videoconferencing, voice-over-IP calling and file-access capabilities.

6. The Persistence of Hybrid

"It used to be thought that hybrid compute was some sort of transition period until everything was 100 percent running in the cloud. Now the modern architecture's richness at the edge and leveraging the power of the cloud, and this connectedness of the two, enables us to innovate fantastic new solutions that really are at the heart of this notion of democratizing digital."

--Judson Althoff

7. Microsoft Itself Becoming a Channel

"Our relationship has changed. The tables have turned, and we have become your channel."

--Gavriella Schuster

Microsoft is integrating its Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partner community with its Marketplace and deepening ties to Microsoft's own field. According to Schuster, the combinations create new opportunities for partners to sell their own services through Microsoft's Marketplace, have Microsoft's internal sales force sell the services or, now, even have other partners pull partner services into their own CSP service offerings.

8. Sometimes It's Good To Say 'No'

9. Sometimes You Have To Say 'Slow'

"[Customers ask] 'How can we take advantage of IoT? How can we take advantage of the Intelligent Edge, the Intelligent Cloud, all this great new capability that's coming up?' You actually have to slow people down and say, 'For what purpose?' This idea that you're going to simply throw technology at the wall and see if something sticks without having a crisp vision and strategy outlined will certainly lead to less optimal results -- let's put it that way -- if any success at all."

--Judson Althoff

10. Scuttled IUR/Competency Changes

"As you may know, a couple weeks ago, we announced changes to the program competencies and internal use rights [IURs]. And the response from you, our partner ecosystem, was overwhelmingly negative. We clearly underestimated the value of those benefits and the impact that that would have on you and your businesses. ... We are going to keep the FY19 competencies and internal use rights just as they are, and you have my commitment that I will continue -- we will continue to listen, to learn, and though we may stumble, we will grow together and we will celebrate our wins together."

--Gavriella Schuster

This issue was settled the week before the conference, with Microsoft reversing course after first trying to explain the unpopular decision to revoke IURs, partner support hours and some other benefits. The blowback had been so large that Schuster spent the very first minutes of the conference's first Corenote address on the issue.

11. The Stress of a Weekend E-Mail from Bill Gates

"Usually, when you get a weekend mail from Bill, you kind of wait and see, 'Do I really want to open it now?' And I opened it, and I've been working with Bill for a long time, and it started by saying, 'Wow.' I've never seen those words from him, I've never heard those words, and he was really thrilled to see us make progress. Of course, he had a long list of other things we need to be working on, as well."

--Satya Nadella

Nadella got one of the show's biggest laughs in joking about the stress he still feels after five years as CEO when hearing from Microsoft's co-founder. The e-mail referred to the Azure SQL Database Hyperscale technology demonstrated on the Inspire stage.

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 22, 2019


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