Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference showcases big plans with GE, new Windows subscriptions for businesses and why Facebook uses Office 365 — Weekend Reading: July 15 edition

 |   Thomas Kohnstamm

The sold-out 2016 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Toronto, Canada, wrapped up yesterday after four days of back-to-back announcements. We won’t take up your entire weekend by covering all of the news that came out of WPC, but here are some hand-picked highlights for this latest edition of Weekend Reading.

The announcement that GE’s Predix platform for the Industrial Internet will be available on the Microsoft Azure cloud for industrial businesses brought out the heavyweights, including a joint appearance by General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. This is the beginning of a strategic collaboration between the two companies, which will allow customers around the world to capture intelligence from their industrial assets and take advantage of Microsoft’s enterprise cloud applications.

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With the news of Windows 10 Enterprise E3 for CSP, businesses will soon get enterprise-grade security and control at just $7 a seat per month through the Cloud Solution Provider channel. This subscription is ideal for companies that do not have dedicated IT resources (or have limited IT staff) and want their licensing and IT needs managed by a trusted and experienced partner. It means that more customers will be able to enjoy the benefits of increased security, simplified licensing and partner-managed IT.


New partnerships with IBM and Booz Allen Hamilton are meeting customer demand for Surface and Surface Hub devices and tailored business solutions. The impact is reaching across the financial services, consumer packaged goods, government and healthcare industries. Microsoft is also making it easier for companies to adopt Surface with the introduction of new flexible purchasing options including a Surface as a Service offering via the CSP channel and in conjunction with the new Windows 10 Enterprise E3 programs.

Facebook Chief Information Officer Tim Campos on stage at Microsoft WPC
Facebook Chief Information Officer Tim Campos on stage at Microsoft WPC

Facebook CIO Tim Campos joined Office 365 CVP Kirk Koenigsbauer onstage to talk about why Office 365 makes sense for Facebook’s more than 13,000 employees. With its mobile workforce, Facebook demands that its IT be flexible and available over the web, on mobile and across platforms. Enabling this mobility requires a secured environment to defend against cyberattacks. Office 365 does just that, boosting productivity with powerful new capabilities for employees, such as Delve and Focused Inbox, which allow for a new level of intelligent collaboration.

The Microsoft Cloud is growing at the record pace of 120,000 new Microsoft Azure subscriptions a month. To help companies further capitalize on this opportunity, Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 will launch at Microsoft Ignite this fall. This new version of the enterprise operating system customers know and love has been dramatically refactored to help you embrace the cloud-first world, but still retains the familiar — but improved — enterprise features you trust your business on.

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Some other great partnership examples to come out of WPC are Schneider Electric, which is using Azure to bring sustainable solar power to more than 170 schools and clinics in Nigeria, and Japan Airlines, which is using HoloLens to change the training paradigm for flight crews and mechanics. HoloLens can project holograms into the environment, offering a remarkable new way to display cockpit instruments or how jet engine parts fit together.

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This week on the Microsoft Facebook and Twitter channels we met Melissa Arnot, the first American woman to summit Everest without supplementary oxygen. Melissa has now set out to climb 50 peaks in 50 states in 50 days, and she’s using Microsoft technology to help her do it.

We hope that you enjoyed these top stories of the week. Please join us again for your Microsoft fix with the next edition of Weekend Reading.

Thomas Kohnstamm
Microsoft News Center Staff