Microsoft is all about cloud and mobile, says Windows marketing boss

Tony Prophet: corporate vice-president for Windows marketing
Tony Prophet: corporate vice-president for Windows marketing

Microsoft will hang its hat on mobile and cloud services and evolve away from just focusing on Windows, according to Tony Prophet, corporate vice-president for Windows marketing.

Speaking at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, Prophet said Microsoft’s recent leadership changes had resulted in a greater willingness to partner with outside companies.

Microsoft this year appointed long-time executive Satya Nadella as chief executive, after predecessor Steve Ballmer retired. Tony Prophet is himself a recent hire, joining Microsoft in May from HP. He was formerly senior vice-president of HP’s PC and printer business, which has just been spun off into a separate company.

Prophet said: "As I joined Microsoft, shortly after Satya Nadella became CEO, the company was increasingly focused on the mobile and cloud world. The investments that were made, the partnerships that were being struck, focused on a mobile-first world."

The investments that were made, the partnerships that were being struck focused on a mobile-first world

"We’re driving towards mobility in the cloud, platforms and productivity," he added.

In practice, that means tuning up Microsoft’s key services, such as its OneDrive cloud storage service, Outlook and Office for mobile productivity.

To that end, the company has forged a surprise partnership with Salesforce, the CRM and productivity company behind Dreamforce. The new Salesforce1 app for Windows Phone will arrive later this year, with Office and OneDrive integration to follow.

That will make Microsoft products easier to use for existing Salesforce users. The news marks an apparent end to previously fractious relations between the two companies.

Prophet said: "If you don’t have a relationship with a recognised leader in cloud, [a cloud strategy] rings hollow."

What happened to Windows 9

Prophet also shed some light on the upcoming release of Windows 10, the company’s follow-up to Windows 8.1.

But he failed to explain why the company had simply decided to skip Windows 9.

"It came and it went," he said, evading the question from Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff.

Prophet said: "Windows 10 is not going to be an incremental step from Windows 8.1. Windows 8.1 was a material step from Windows 8, it had a much better UI for mouse and keyboard.

"Windows 10 is one platform, one ecosystem, and unites many devices – from small embedded devices through to phones, tablets, PCs, and eventually the Xbox."

Prophet revealed that one million users had downloaded the technical preview of Windows 10, with positive feedback on UI changes such as multiple desktops and multi-tasking.

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