Microsoft kicked off its tenth annual Tech Ed conference in Brisbane yesterday by acknowledging that the environment it operates in is changing. While careful not to mention the dreaded Linux, there was recognition that the software giant was being forced to change the way it does business.
“We have had challenges with the perception of Microsoft as a company,” Microsoft chief technology officer for Asia-Pacific and Greater China, Peter Moore, said. “We need to focus on value, not just features.
“Competition has become very interesting,” was about the nearest Moore came to making a direct reference to Linux.
“It was very easy for us [Microsoft] once upon a time to say that we were the best and the cheapest,” he said. “Being the cheapest from a purchase point of view is getting more difficult now so we have to focus on the total cost of ownership and make sure the relationships we have with customers are meaningful.”
More than 1600 delegates registered for this year’s event as well as, for the first time, 410 students. As you would expect, Microsoft was out in force, with 130 staff on hand and 60 speakers expected to contribute during the next three days.
Many of those delegates had gathered for the early Monday morning start to hear Moore set the tone for the rest of the event, which focused greatly on creating an image of a new caring and sharing Microsoft.
“We are transforming our company so that it is structured to act as one company rather than multiple companies,” he said, before going on to talk about “doing our bit for the community”.
“We need to let people know how to get the best value out of our technology and allow people to do things they can’t do by taking pieces from different vendors,” he said.