Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Microsoft Canada Analyst Day

I spent most of today attending Microsoft Canada's analyst day here in Toronto. It was led by Sean Seaton and his team, and they sure covered a lot of ground. Sean is the Director of their Communications Sector, and just about everything they talked about was of interest to me.

Today Microsoft touches every facet of communications, and the opening vision statement sums it up pretty well: "to create experiences that combine the magic of software with the power of Internet services across a world of devices."

That covers pretty much everything, and Microsoft is working very hard to straddle the worlds of software and the Web - while at the same time, steering very clear of anything to do with hardware.

We saw a series of presentations covering desktop applications, Windows Live 3, mobility, the workplace, entertainment, and Mediaroom. On its own, each of these is very interesting, but together you have tip your hat to Microsoft for being so strong in so many places.

To me, though, the strongest story was the service provider market, where they really are becoming an important player. I'd say that was the core focus for most of us in the room, so we were a pretty attentive audience. I've seen much of this before in their Telco 2.0 presentations, and written about it in some of my Service Provider Views columns.

I'm going to leave it at that for now, but will touch on many of their service provider themes in my next column, which should run on Friday. So, you'll have to come back to hear the rest of the story.

Oh - kudos also to High Road Communications for pulling this event together and hosting it at their downtown offices. They always do a good job and I'd say Microsoft is being well served by them.

Aside from this, we had a recurring distraction running all day wondering if the BCE privatization deal was going to fall apart. It was a very ugly day, as the stock fell 34% in value, driven by concerns over a negative opinion by KPMG regarding BCE's ability to meet the solvency requirements for the deal. Canada's financial sector hasn't been shaken to it core like the U.S., but the magnitude of this deal is enough to undermine confidence in our entire telecom sector. That's another post in itself, but I'll hold off until the dust settles around BCE. Phew.

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