WPC 2014 – 14% market share admission is potentially the most significant message

As mentioned in a previous blog post (Microsoft WPC Day 3) there were very few major announcements at Microsoft #WPC14 and nothing with a “WOW” factor. Maybe this is to be expected. Satya Nadella is relatively new in role and whilst he has signposted a major refocus this will take time to land.

HOWEVER it has been a few weeks since WPC and I have had a chance to reflect on the conference. And in this reflection I keep coming back to one area of Kevin Turners keynote that I believe is going to be a massive influence on Microsoft behaviour in the next 12+ months.

Along with his normal bullish view on all things Microsoft and his always appreciated dig at the competition he was very candid about where Microsoft market share now sits.

“The reality is that the world has shifted, and the world’s evolved. We now measure ourselves in the total device space, and in the total device space we have a 14 percent share of devices…

…and this 14% presents a great opportunity for us to embrace that. And in this new world of 14% share, we have to have a new mindset. Because when you’re in a 90+ percent share world, you have a ‘protect and preserve’ mindset. When you have a 14% share, you have to have a ‘challenger’ mindset.”


Slide Kevin Turners WPC 2014 Keynote

This would appear to be based on the recent Gartner report “Forecast: PCs, Ultramobiles, and Mobile Phones, Worldwide, 2011-2018, 2Q14 Update”. A summary is available here (http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2791017):


In a world of PCs being the primary computing device Microsoft have essentially had a monopoly and talked about their 90%+ market share. This has been a primary driver for their behaviour. They have needed to defend this market share and within this context many (sometimes frustrating) decisions make sense.

In a world where the proliferation of devices has exploded, there is no fundamentally new or surprising data that points to Microsoft having a reduced market share.  HOWEVER for Microsoft to openly and candidly talk about only 14% market share is a major mental shift.  This position is a completely at odds with Microsoft’s previous raison d’être.

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Windows Server Devices Provider – Error 1067

I am running Windows Server Essentials 2012 at home (not updated to R2 yet due to hassle of no in place upgrade – I know always rebuild from clean, but just time and hassle).  With a few exceptions it has just worked and delivered what I needed.  However the other day I started getting warnings about an important service failing to start.  Turned out the the “Windows Server Devices Provider” was failing to start for some reason.  A knock on effect was that the Windows Server 2012 Essentials Dashboard would start take some time trying to work out details about the devices attached to the server environment and then crash.

Did lots of Google searches but could find nothing.  Finally decided I would try a Bing search in case it threw up something.  As if by magic the first result returned using exactly the same query was to the following article which helped me solve the problem.(http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/zh-CN/2dc66e9b-0fa0-4429-b2d0-322f60ab0511/windows-server-devices-provider-service-not-working?forum=whs2011)

In summary the “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows Server\Data\DevicesInfo.xml” had somehow become corrupted.  The way to solve the problem was to:

  1. Navigate to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows Server\Data (you may need to change the default view options within Windows Explorer to “Show hidden files…” and unhide “…protected operating system files” – initially I could not see the ProgramData folder)
  2. Locate DevicesInfo.xml and rename to DevicesInfo.xml_old and the .xml.bak to .xml.bak_old
  3. Now restart/start the “Windows Server Devices Provider” service in “services.msc”

Happy days all now working

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Microsoft WPC Day 3 – Vision Keynotes

Although there were no big “wow” announcements, there were things that caught my attention.  Summary below.

Tiffani Bova, VP, Gartner Research.

We live in a world of customer experiences. However too many businesses are still trying sell the underlying product.  She summed this up with a coffee analogy – even though there is free coffee all around the WPC event, people were still waiting and paying at the coffee shop.


Tony Prophet, Corp VP, Windows Marketing

(Full script can be found here – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/speeches/2014/07-16wpcprophet.aspx)

Devices with screens less than 9” will have a $0 license fee for the various Windows OSs.  One of the big benefits of Android to device manufacturers has been the lack of licensing costs.  This change to Windows licensing should create an explosion in Windows based devices and there is already evidence of this from announcements from Chinese handset manufacturers.

This change also explains the phasing out of the non-Windows phone OSs from Nokia (Nokia X, Asha and S40) – http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-to-discontinue-nokia-asha-and-s40-feature-phones-7000031731/

He also recognised the feedback for a more rapid update cycle across the various Windows platforms (this has also been reflected across the wider Microsoft software portfolio). However regarding the next version of Windows he was pointed in stating that “we have nothing to announce today”


Satya Nadella, CEO

(Full script can be found here – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/speeches/2014/07-16wpcnadella.aspx)

There was nothing in his keynote that he has not already said in his various speeches and written messages over the past few weeks.  However a few items that were of interest or more strongly re-enforced were:

A call out to my good friend Dan Scarfe of Dot Net Solutions who was one of 3 partners highlighted during the keynote for their innovative activities – nice Smile

It is clear that one of the key drivers for the new approach that Satya is laying out for Microsoft is that they have gone from a near monopoly position in the devices market when device = PC to where they now have a 14% share in a world where device = PC + tablet + phone etc.

At the heart of his message is that Microsoft will create the best productivity experience across all platforms with everything working seamlessly together.  In the past the Microsoft organisational model based on silos with a “Darwinian” survival model in place has worked against this vision.  There have been various announcements that point at the significant changes that are taking place and they are about changing culture:

He also made a clear statement about the need to invest in business and consumer experiences – “dual use”:

“We’re going to do the best job of being able to enable dual use. This entire notion that somehow I’ll buy my device for consumption and personal use and then I’ll give up that device for work and take another device just doesn’t work”

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Internet of (Your) Things – market size

At a WPC session Microsoft shared some research from IDC about the market size/opportunity in the IoT space.  It’s big…

2014 – USD1.93T

2018 – USD4.93T


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Change is difficult – benefit you can see vs future promise aka The Marshmallow experiment

(Stephen Parker, Head of Cloud Strategy, NewLease)

Over the years I have spent a lot of time working with partners to help then through the challenges of changing their businesses to support a cloud model.

The bottom line change is difficult.

But why?

I was in a session at WPC with my good friend Darren Bibby from IDC and he talked about a piece of research from Stanford University (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_marshmallow_experiment) that was all about the benefits of what you can see now vs promised future benefits.

The conclusion of the research is that despite the apparently clear benefits of waiting for future value the majority take what they can see now.

Why is this relevant to a cloud shift?

People (and ergo businesses) find it difficult to move from the big hit wins of the single “elephant hunter” sales success to the long term benefits of a recurring (annuity) revenue stream that takes time to build in value.






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Microsoft Big Bets for FY15

Each year at WPC Microsoft lets it’s partner community know what their big bets are for the coming year. In the past these have changed reach year.

However this year they are the same as FY14 with the addition of Security.

Cloud, Social, Mobility, Big Data & BI, Security.

These tends are what will drive Microsoft in FY15, so you need to know them if you work with Microsoft

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Microsoft WPC 2014

Microsoft’s annual event aimed at their partner community, Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), is timed at the beginning of the Microsoft financial year.  This means that it is the perfect opportunity for Microsoft to lay out their key messaging for the year ahead and get their partners on-board.

Microsoft have been talking about being “all in” with the Cloud for a number of years now.  However the rhetoric is now landing with serious organisational change and commitment.

With Satya Nadella providing a new hand on the wheel and clear statements that “Nothing is off the table in how we think about shifting our culture” (see http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-ceo-nadella-we-will-reinvent-productivity-7000031455/) this years WPC in Washington DC will be especially interesting to see what does and does not get mentioned.

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