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Microsoft Inspire 2018 Recap: 8 Key Quotes

Microsoft's annual partner conference, Inspire, just wrapped up in Las Vegas, where it was combined for the first time with the Microsoft Ready internal sales event.

Here are some key moments from the Inspire keynotes that illustrated some of biggest themes from the show, which also represented the unofficial start of Microsoft's fiscal year.

Intelligent Cloud/Intelligent Edge

"The opportunities for us to serve our customers in this new era of the intelligent cloud and the intelligent edge is far greater. I've sort of lived through the client-server, the Web, mobile, cloud, but what we're going to see going forward is going to be even more profound." --Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft

During his keynote last Wednesday, Nadella walked attendees through a number of customer scenarios that hit on the intelligent cloud or the intelligent edge. The messaging covers the Azure platform in all its iterations from the public cloud to Azure Stack to Azure Sphere, and includes the artificial intelligence (AI) that is built into many Azure services.

Focus on Privacy

"Privacy is a fundamental human right. ... Our fundamental value proposition for our customers, not just as a company, but as a community, that we will help them better protect the privacy of their customers." --Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft

In a keynote, Smith reiterated Microsoft's commitment to improving privacy and security for customers, while also trying to take a thought leadership role in the ethics of AI.

Modern Workplace Refresh

"This move over the next three years represents a $100 billion opportunity for all of our partners." --Ron Markezich, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft 365

Markezich runs the Microsoft 365 business, which is the core of Microsoft's Modern Desktop initiative and includes Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS). Markezich was describing the opportunity to sell Microsoft 365 and associated devices due to the upcoming upgrade cycle around end of support for Windows 7 and Office 2010.


"I was very excited to welcome the Windows team into Azure, and we're one unified group now. So, everything from silicon at the base level, firmware, operating systems, everything in the middle of the stack up through app stack to tools, we've got everything on one team to go deliver on this vision." --Jason Zander, Executive Vice President, Microsoft Azure

During his keynote about Azure for partners, Zander made the case for why the Windows team was consolidated under his engineering unit.

Co-Selling  Momentum

"We've built over 28,000 solutions, services and applications with you this past fiscal year. We have generated over 3 million leads out to partners and jointly developed over 100,000 co-sell opportunities. And, get this, we have landed over $5 billion in partner sales. That's your sales, not Microsoft's sales, $5 billion. And the best thing about that is that that is with 87 percent of IP co-sell ready partners participating in that motion." --Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner, Microsoft

From being announced a year ago, the Microsoft co-selling program with partners gained a lot of steam in fiscal year 2018. Schuster said Microsoft will continue to reward Microsoft sellers for selling partner solutions at 10 percent of partners' contract value at least through June 2019.

Azure Scale

"The amount of interconnect cable we have across Azure datacenters is enough to go to the moon and back three times over. It's crazy." --Satya Nadella

The Inspire keynotes are always a time for metrics about the scale of Azure. Nadella talked about the cabling in the context of Microsoft having added 14 datacenter regions over the last fiscal year to bring the total to 54 worldwide. Elsewhere during the show, Microsoft shared that its private network includes over 4,500 peering locations and 130 edge sites.

Combined Conference

"Today is a momentous milestone for us, bringing together these two communities, Inspire and Ready, because that's how our customers see us, as one. And to be able to kick off our fiscal year is something that I think is going to really mark a real difference in how we as this tech community are going to serve our customers going forward." --Satya Nadella

This statement during Nadella's Wednesday keynote captured the main reason for combining the two conferences for the first time.

What's Cool

"I always say this to any student who is joining Microsoft or looking to join Microsoft. I say to them, 'Look, if you want to be cool, go look for someplace else. But if you want to join a company that is committed to making others cool, join Microsoft.'" --Satya Nadella.

After decades in Redmond, Nadella really put his finger on the pulse of what it means to work at Microsoft or be in the Microsoft ecosystem. The statement was a big applause line in Las Vegas.

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 23, 2018


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