Microsoft CEO Talks Skype, Windows Phone, Windows 8 at WPC

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer opened the 2011 WPC in Los Angeles with a broad-based discussion of everything from Windows 8 to the Skype acquisition.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer opened this year s Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles with a rundown of his company s various operations, including its forays into cloud computing and mobility.

Although offering a broad-based summation of current and future projects such as Kinect and Windows 8, he seemed reluctant to share many new details beyond what's already public knowledge. For example, any sales numbers related to Windows Phone went unmentioned; although considered innovative by many, the smartphone platform is widely rumored to suffer from poor sales.

In any case, Ballmer also used his July 11 keynote speech to highlight Microsoft s continued dedication to the cloud. "We re moving forward to the cloud public and private," he told the audience assembled in the Staples Center. "We're all in and we want partners who are all in with us."

On the cloud front, Ballmer emphasized the evolution of Bing, the company's search engine that he described as first and foremost a cloud application. Bing helps users decide and take action, he said, and has seen growth both in its overall market share and in the number of user queries served. Microsoft has been leveraging its minority stake in Facebook to make Bing more social, integrating data from the social network (such as denoting which Websites your friends liked) into the search engine s results.

He also defended Microsoft's recent acquisition of Skype for $8.5 billion, suggesting the communications company's assets will act as a force multiplier for existing Microsoft products such as Lync. "One of the great motivations in acquiring Skype is to allow the enterprise all the control it wants," he said. "Skype is a strategy that will allow the consumerization of IT to proceed with full vigor."

This article was originally published on 07-12-2011
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