Editor’s note – June 4, 2014 –
The transcript below was updated to identify Nick Parker as the person who interviewed Dr. Hsiao-Wuen Hon.
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome corporate vice president of devices partnership, Nick Parker. (Cheers, applause.)
NICK PARKER: Welcome and thank you. It’s great to be back with our friends and partners here in Taiwan at Computex.
I’d like to start by sharing a little bit of an industry perspective. It’s been an incredible year for the industry. You know, we’re on a path together to do nearly 5 billion devices, to build 5 billion devices by the end of 2015. That’s PCs and tablets and phablets and smart phones and the Internet of Things. That’s a phenomenal amount of devices. And this is all starting this year.
And it’s been an incredible year for Microsoft. You know, this year alone, if you just think of two of the big headlines, we have a new CEO, Satya Nadella, and on top of that we’ve changed some historic things in our Windows products and business models. I mean, this is phenomenal.
Let me give you a little perspective about one perspective on the industry megatrends and how that shapes our innovation agenda, but also the partnership opportunity that we have.
Clearly, everything is moving mobile. Next year or this year, over 90 percent of companies will actually spend money on mobility. Whether it’s enabling analog capability to move to fast mobile devices, whether it’s moving things from desktop to notebooks to phones to Internet of Things, devices or embedded devices, we see this incredible movement in mobility.
The next area clearly is social, and again let me use the kind of business metaphor. Over 50 percent of enterprises will actually use social inside their corporation to enable them to increase efficiencies and realize new collaboration capabilities.
The cloud itself leveraging huge capability, huge compute power, helping people realize new economies and efficiencies, and again here we see about 90 percent of all mobile devices will be deployed or provisioned or serviced from the cloud.
And then finally, big data. We’ve continually talked about big data but with the explosion of new devices, with the change of some of these analog behaviors and how we interact as humans becoming more and more digital, it gives us the incredible ability for the machine-to-machine learning that we see and really does take some of that data into new realms of analytics. And we see more and more analytics back-ending everything we do in terms of mobile applications, cloud-driven applications.
And with that industry context, it really does frame up how we think what our innovation agenda should be, and how that should build partnership opportunities together for us and the ecosystem.
We think of this world of mobile-first, cloud-first experiences. These are experiences that should feel as comfortable and as human to us with our human mobility, as well as leveraging the power of the cloud.
And we think about a couple of dimensions here. Firstly, we think about us as individuals and what are our individual needs. We also think about us as organizations and what are those needs in a mobile-first, cloud-first world.
And then we think about what are the roles of each of us that need to come together to deliver these incredible scenarios in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. Whether we’re the end users, whether it’s IT, or finally the developers, and when those three come together, you really see the magic of mobile and cloud coming together through the device, through the cloud, through the services, enabled by the software.
The second thing we then see is context, is that this incredible device proliferation, we have a device for everything, we have a service or an app for everything, gives this incredible sense of ubiquitous computing. There is computing everywhere. Whether it’s smart metering on one hand all the way through to the most personal devices I carry on me instead of with me, through to devices that move through our lives, we see this ubiquitous computing, computing everywhere, and the human-machine interface more and more enabled by lower cost scenarios, the economics of the cloud, as well as the incredible innovation that you do in this room.
And what this generates is huge amounts of data and insight from the devices.
And that leads us to the investment and the partnership opportunities we need to create as part of this ambient intelligence. With all of these devices and these smart end points connected to the Internet, the machine-to-machine learning, or whether it’s just much smarter analytics and BI and data from these applications that are provisioned mobiley, we’re able to have this ambient intelligence, the ability to understand so much more, respond to those insights, and provide foresight.
And that leads us to what do we need to provide to use the ecosystem, to enable you to take part in these incredible industry megatrends, the growth of device proliferation and add real unique value to end users that live in this mobile-first, cloud-first world with ubiquitous computing, devices everywhere, and the ability to understand and respond with the intelligence.
And that brings us to this slide, the slide that shows all of our devices. And whether they’re connected by Windows powering them on device, whether it’s a consumer service like Xbox Live or our commercial service built on a platform on Azure, you see we’re leaders in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Platform as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service with Azure. Or whether it’s Office 365 or Skype, Xbox Live, or CRM Online, these are true cloud platforms that enable you to build your devices on them.
And no better way to highlight that than to bring up a good friend, Tony Prophet, who runs the Windows business, to tell us about Windows’ view and how we can partner together. Tony? (Applause.)
TONY PROPHET: Thank you, Nick.
Well, I’m thrilled to see so many of my longtime friends and partners from Taiwan and from around the world.
Now, many of you know I’ve spent the last eight years delivering compelling Windows experiences to customers around the world, now with the team along the way delivering over 400 million Windows devices. Now I’ve joined Microsoft, and I joined Microsoft because I firmly believe that we’re uniquely positioned to win in this cloud-first and mobile-first world.
And we’re starting from a position of strength. Every day, 1.5 billion people around the world know, use and trust Windows, either to learn, play, work and create.
Now, we feel confident about our ecosystem. We’ve got scale and a truly global footprint. We’re not highly fragmented and we have an extraordinary suite of relevant cloud services. We can light up these services on a vast array of devices around the world. And we complement them with a growing and an increasingly compelling portfolio of partner apps. And most important, we’ve got you, our trusted partners who are at the heart of this vibrant, open, and innovative ecosystem.
So how will we continue to win together, all of us, in this Windows ecosystem?
First, by focusing on fostering ecosystem opportunity, opportunity for you. From component technologies to systems design to services and solutions, vertical services and solutions for our most trusted partners, our ecosystem is open. It’s open to your ideas, it’s open to your innovation, and it’s open to the core value that for us to win, you’ve got to win.
Second, to accelerating our innovation pace. You’ve spoken, we’ve listened. Gone are the days of a three-year release cycle. We’ve taken your feedback and we’re moving to a system of regular updates, not just fixes but regular updates that bring new features that our customers truly value.
And finally, by delivering common experiences. Microsoft is committed to deliver a common set of user experiences from the metaphors of the UI to those cloud-based services that we light up around the world. So we’re working to cultivate a portfolio of apps and services, cloud-based services around the world. These are services of scale, familiar brands that you know and trust, from the industry standard for productivity, Office, to the Xbox Live service that entertains and delights us every day. These services connect us and this ecosystem to hundreds of millions of users every day.
But there’s even more. We’re cultivating — and not just cultivating, but we’re committed to cultivating and merchandizing the broadest set of apps to learn, play, work and create.
And we’re making great progress. Our app developer base has grown by 50 percent year over year. The number of apps have grown nearly twofold year over year, with hundreds of thousands of apps. And we’ve got a great balance of apps across premier consumer-based apps like WeChat, WhatsApp, Spotify, Pandora, Sina Weibo.
And today I’m happy to announce that Kabam, a leader in free-to-play games, will bring its hit franchise to Windows. Now, Kabam is poised to become one of Asia’s most popular mobile games developer publishers. The company’s largest studio is located in Beijing, and this is where they develop some of their greatest hit games, “Fast and Furious 6,” “Dragons of Atlantis,” and “The Hobbit: Kingdoms of the Middle Earth.” These existing franchises, along with new hits, will be a great addition to the Windows ecosystem.
Now, these consumer apps are complemented by an extraordinary portfolio of business and productivity apps, including GoToMeeting, Office and Lync.
And we’re committed to bringing the very best line-of-business apps to this ecosystem as well. Just last week, we announced that Salesforce1 will be coming to Windows and Windows Phone in the fall of 2014.
Now, so in today’s world all of us, each of us interact with a multitude of devices every day, from the smart phone to the phablet to the tablet to the two-in-one to the notebook, all-in-one, desktop, et cetera. But there hasn’t yet been an easy way for a developer to develop an app for all of these devices and all these form factors until now.
So at Build 2014 we announced universal Windows apps. Now, this is a way where developers can code and develop once to use across all these form factors. Not only is it great for developers, it’s great for customers, too. With universal Windows apps customers, you will be able to buy the app once and use it across all your Windows devices. So our clear intent is to build a premier portfolio of universal Windows apps that you’ll be able to light up from an entry level smart phone to an OPP tablet to your largest screen. And these are just the Windows Store apps.
Now, we all know that the world has come to rely and trust upon Windows for this incomparable, the ubiquitous suite of programs, household names like Photoshop, Quicken, AutoCAD, and yes, even iTunes.
Now, clearly the world’s moving fast, and so are we. We’ve honored your feedback and we’re pivoting from an approach of multiyear releases to regular updates that go beyond simple fixes to bringing new features that our customers value.
So where is the proof? It’s in the short interval improvements that you see and the releases that you’ve seen since 2013 to both Windows and Windows Phone, delivering an impressive array of sets of features that respond to the voices of our customers around the world.
Now let’s get specific. In 2014 you’ve already seen some significant updates to Windows and Windows Phone. First, we focused on improving the core element of the Windows 8 mouse and keyboard experience. That bears repeating. The Windows 8.1 update focused on improving the core elements of the Windows 8 mouse and keyboard experience.
And then we added some magic: shape writing and Cortana. Now, I’ve brought Nick Hedderman — he’s a leader on my team now — to share with us and show us some of this magic in action. So Nick? Welcome, Nick.
NICK HEDDERMAN: Thanks, Tony. (Applause.)
Well, good afternoon, everyone. It’s a great honor to be here in Taiwan to share with you some of the updates that we’ve made to both Windows and Windows Phone this year alone.
Like Tony said, we’ve been listening to our partners and to our customers all around the world, and we’ve been using feedback to scope and to hone the experience that we bring to life, both on the PC, tablet and phone. And not just only that, we’ve also been building some really exciting experiences, experiences that create demand and intrigue for Windows-based devices.
I’m going to start with Windows, and I want to talk to you about the latest release called Windows 8.1 Update. In this release we put the mouse and the keyboard user first. That’s especially important for users that may not have a touchscreen device. It allows them to navigate and discover the experience in a way that feels very familiar to them, and it starts with the desktop.
So let’s get started on my PC over here, and you’ll see my beautiful desktop.
Now, one of the things you’ll notice is that the Start button is back there right in the bottom corner. And I’m going to click on that a little bit later on and come back to that in a second.
Some other things you’ll notice is we now can pin the Windows Store applications directly to that taskbar so they look and feel just like more traditional applications.
So here I can see I’ve got Internet Explorer and File Explorer, more traditional applications, and yet next to it I have the Store and OneDrive and even my music application.
So as I hover over them, they give me that mini-preview. Now, in the case of my music I even get those small controls so I can play and pause and skip my music directly from that taskbar.
Now let’s open up one of these Windows Store applications. What you’ll notice is because I’m using a mouse to interact with the application, as I scroll up to the very top, I get this hyper-bar pop down so I can minimize or I can close that application. And that’s consistent through every single app that you download from the store.
Now, talking of the Store, the Store is now automatically pinned to the taskbar, which is much better for the end user to discover new applications and, of course, this is great news for our developer community. It’s putting the Store right at the forefront of our user experience.
So those are just some of the changes we made to the desktop. Now let’s go back and click that Start button that I spoke about earlier.
Here’s my beautiful Start screen, my canvas to express my individuality. And you can see here all the things that matter to me most. And thanks to Live Tiles, all that information is coming directly onto the tile. So I can scroll with my mouse wheel to move left and right.
And we’ve also made some other changes that really celebrate the mouse and keyboard as an input method. Let’s take this weather tile here in the middle. If I right-click on it, I get that right-click menu that a keyboard and mouse user would expect, so I could resize, I could uninstall, I could pin it to my taskbar, and many different options.
Let me show you another thing. A lot of keyboard users use the control button to select multiple things. So I’m going to hold down control and I’m going to select four Office apps there. In fact, I’m going to drag them over here and create a new section. Let’s move that one back. In fact, I’m going to rename this. Let’s call this Office. There we go, Office. And, in fact, I’m even going to make them bigger. So I’m going to click on them all, right-click, resize, and I’ve made them all medium.
So you can see how the keyboard and the mouse can really interact with this beautiful, modern new Start screen experience.
Another thing you’ll notice is when I’ve installed a new application, I just get a little reminder at the bottom there. And if I click, there’s my all apps list and it’s very clear to me which ones are new and which ones I might want to do something with, whether I want to pin them directly to the taskbar on the desktop or pin them to my Start screen.
So those are just some of the changes we’ve made based on a lot of feedback from you, the partners, and also from our end users all around the world.
I want to switch gears and show you some fun stuff that we’ve been building, and we call this the Maps Preview. This is built by the Bing team, and it’s a really beautiful 3D rendering of very excellent cities all around the world. In fact, I’ve started here with Seattle because that’s where I live. I thought I’d give you a quick glimpse of what it looks like. There’s the Space Needle. We can see the music museum there. That’s even my apartment over there, see with the star on. So that’s where I live.
And let me show you my office. So I’m just going to pan out a little bit here. I’m going to fly over Lake Washington, and there’s the Microsoft campus showing up. And the little red briefcase is my office there. So a cool way to be able to experience cities before you’ve even been there.
Now, that’s all well and good for a city like Seattle that I know, but I want to show you an example where this is really helpful, in fact somewhere I’ve never been before. So this holiday I’m planning to go to Italy, in fact Verona. So I’m going to click Verona and we’re going to zoom out. We’re going to fly across the Atlantic and land here in Northern Italy.
And here is the city of Verona. It’s absolutely beautiful. And this is a fantastic way to navigate around and get a real sense of what the city looks like before you arrive. In fact, that hill over there looks pretty cool. I’d quite like to stay near there. So I think I’m going to look at some hotels close by.
And thanks to Bing, we can now search through a bunch of data and we can put it directly onto the map. So you’ll see here there’s lots of hotels showing up in the back there, but this number one just over in the corner is nice and close by.
So let’s take a look at that, and we can see loads of detail, rich Bing data coming through here, Trip Advisor reviews. I can call them, I can go directly to their websites, can even get directions say from the airport.
But in this case I’m just going to save this to my OneNote. So OneNote is Microsoft’s note-taking tool that is truly cross-platform and cross-device.
So we’re just going to click to share this to OneNote. I’m going to rename this to Verona 2014, and then send. And now that’s saved automatically to the cloud and accessible wherever I’m using OneNote. And I’m going to come back to that a little bit later on.
So those are just some of the changes that we’ve made to Windows. Now I want to shift gears and talk to you about what we’re doing on Windows Phone.
So I’m just going to go to my desktop and load up this fantastic application that allows me to project my device.
So here it is, Windows Phone 8.1, the latest version that is rolling out to existing users at the moment, and it’s coming preinstalled on new devices, some of which you see behind us, and others in shops all around the world.
And with Windows Phone we think that we have got the most personal smart phone experience in the world. We celebrate what matters most to the end user, their favorite people, applications and many other things. And that truly comes to life on the Start screen. You can see here I have pinned all of the things that matter to me most. And again just like on my PC, I’m seeing beautiful, rich data coming through, thanks to Live Tiles.
Now, sometimes you don’t have all of your applications pinned to your Start. And we had lots of feedback from our end users, we’d love a way to be able to see all of the things that have happened on my phone since I last looked. Well, the good news is we added something which we call the Action Center. I pull directly from the top here anywhere in the device, and I can see all of my notifications in one place, and I can choose my custom settings that pop up at the top there. So if I want to drop it into airplane mode or turn my Bluetooth on and off, I can do directly from the Action Center.
Another thing that’s great is I can go directly into all my settings. And I want to show you this other great new feature that we’ve brought to the Start screen. We call this the Start background. And I’m going to choose here a picture that I took just recently when I was out and about. This is Taipei 101, as I’m sure you’ll know. I’m going to save that as my Start theme. And when I go back to my Start screen, those blue tiles have now gone completely translucent, and I’ve got this beautiful image in the background that looks fantastic on this little parallax effect as I scroll up and down. So just another way to truly personalize your phone.
Now, again we listened very closely to our community and they asked us for a way in which that they could manage the files on their devices. And we’ve responded. In fact, it was only just a few days ago we released what we call the Files application to the Windows Phone store. This is the first first-party experience to manage files on your device. You can’t do that on iOS and you have to use a third-party application on Android.
And let me show you what it looks like. So here you can see my phone and I actually have an SD card in this device as well. So I can move content between those two storage locations.
Now, I’m going to create a new folder. Let’s do that here on my phone. And I’ve been taking some pictures of Taipei. So let’s call this folder Taipei. There we go. And now I’m going to go into the location where those pictures are currently saved under my Saved Pictures. As you can see, I’ve got a ton of photos here. I’m going to select them all and check them all. Actually I’m not sure there are lions in Taiwan. They were clearly from a previous trip. Let’s take those ones out. And now I’m going to move those all to that folder I just set up, move here, and you can see it’s just shifted all those photos over instantly.
So you can imagine how useful this is going to be for managing all of your files directly on your device, and there you can see they’re all now in that new folder. So a great new experience, completely free, just published to the store, and something we’re really excited about, based again on the feedback we’ve had.
So let’s shift gears and talk about some of the exciting things, some of the magic that Tony said earlier that we’ve been building in this latest version of Windows Phone, and it starts with the keyboard.
I’m just going to start a new email here. And you have to bear with me, because I’m not the fastest typer in the world, but let’s give it a go. We’ve added shape writing capability into the keyboard. And the keyboard not only understands the way that you type but it also knows the people in your address book. So I’m going to give you some examples of this as I go through.
So “built-in Windows Phone” — can even do a little icon, pretty cool, “keyboard is an extraordinary” — pretty cool — “experience.” Oh, let’s try that one again. “Experience. It knows my people.” Now I’m going to type a colleague’s name here, and it’s Augusto. And notice it picks his surname up as I started. It’s one my buddies back in Redmond. “And it knows really hard words.” Let’s go for “Mississippi.” Boom, there we go. So a great experience. You notice I was gliding my finger over the words, very easy to interact with, and it comes built into every single Windows Phone for free.
Now, the last thing I want to show you is our new truly personal digital assistant called Cortana. Cortana is currently a beta in the U.S., and I’m very excited to announce that in the coming months we’re going to be adding both the U.K. market and the Chinese market to the Cortana service.
Now, what’s great about these new countries is we’re not just taking the U.S. version and rolling it out to those two new locations. We spent many, many hours building a great voice capability for those local markets, and exclusive features for those markets, too. So watch this space as those things start to come to life in the coming months.
But for today I’m going to show you the U.S. version of Cortana here on my phone.
Now, I can get to Cortana through a number of ways. She has a Live Tile, as you would expect, or I can just hit the search button. And what you’ll notice is this is what we call Cortana home. As I swipe up, I have a curated set of content that’s very individual to me. In fact, you notice here that she’s picked up that I’ve booked some flights, and she’s asking me, hey, do you want me to track those flights for you? That’s a fantastic idea because, you know what, 24 hours before she’s going to tell me to check in and she’s even going to remind me if the flight is going to be late or cancelled. So I’m going to accept that and that one there, and now we are tracking.
You’ll also notice that she can work out your location. Earlier when I showed you that three-dimensional map, you noticed a little red briefcase and a little red star on my home. That was because she works out where I live.
Now, it’s quite funny, I’ve obviously been here in Taipei for the last five days, and she thinks I now live in Taipei. I don’t live here, so I’m just going to say no, so she’s got that one now.
And she’s also showing me some latest results, news results, things that I’m tracking, business news, the World Cup, and of course the latest at Computex, and at the bottom here some weather stuff.
Now, when we built Cortana, we actually worked with real-world assistants. We spent time learning how they handle their clients. And one thing that was true and consistent was this idea of a notebook. And so we’ve implemented that very same concept here into Cortana. Here’s Cortana’s notebook about me. She knows all of my interests, for example. You can see those flights I’m tracking there. She knows all the people that matter most to me, my inner circle.
There you can see my wife is part of that inner circle. And so she can always get through to me anytime of the day, because we also have this concept called quiet hours. I can turn quiet hours on and when I’ve got incoming phone calls, text messages during meetings or when I’m sleeping, Cortana will take care of them. And as I mentioned, because my wife is in the inner circle, she can get through anytime.
And there you can see all the places that she knows about me, my work location and my home address.
So that’s just a little bit about how she builds up a profile of you as an individual. Let me show you how I might use her on a daily basis, and let’s start with a real basic one. I’ve got to get up early tomorrow to fly back to the U.S., so I’m going to start with an alarm.
Wake me up at 5:00 a.m.
CORTANA: Sure thing. Your 5:00 a.m. alarm is now on.
NICK HEDDERMAN: So I didn’t say set my alarm, I said wake me up. She was smart enough to work that out.
Let’s try another one. How many calories in a banana?
CORTANA: There are 105 calories in a serving of banana.
NICK HEDDERMAN: There you go. And because Cortana works with third-party applications, you’ll notice I can add that to my diet tracker. That’s a Bing Health and Fitness application. And if I wanted to, I could just click that and it’s added it into my diet tracker.
Let’s try one more. What’s the tallest mountain in Taiwan?
NICK HEDDERMAN: Is that right? (Applause.)
This is an easy one. Let’s try this. What is the tallest building in Taiwan?
CORTANA: Taipei 101. (Applause.)
NICK HEDDERMAN: So pretty cool, and you can see how easy she is picking up my voice. It’s very natural. She’s working it out and translating it into a search result very quickly.
Let’s try some more advanced things. Set up an appointment for 7:00 p.m. on Thursday.
CORTANA: What should I call it?
NICK HEDDERMAN: Dinner with Liz.
CORTANA: Okay, add dinner with Liz to your calendar for tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. Is that right?
NICK HEDDERMAN: Yes.
CORTANA: OK, I’ve added it.
By the way, you have dinner with the boss at the same time. (Laughter.)
NICK HEDDERMAN: Ooh, my wife’s not going to be very happy. I have to choose between the two. But you can see how Cortana can help you get on with productivity type-based questions and challenges.
Now, we have this silly thing, my wife and I, whenever we travel somewhere new we buy a fridge magnet at the location we’re going to. So let’s set myself a reminder. And this is a location-based reminder. Remind me to buy a fridge magnet when I get to Taiwan International Airport.
CORTANA: Sure thing, remind you to buy a fridge magnet when you get to — sound good?
NICK HEDDERMAN: Yes.
NICK HEDDERMAN: So now that’s set the reminder and as I go to that location, that reminder’s going to trigger and it will make sure I don’t forget before I get on the plane.
And let’s do one last thing. I love you. (Laughter.)
CORTANA: Thanks. Ditto. (Laughter, applause.)
NICK HEDDERMAN: So you can see we’ve had a lot of fun building Cortana. She’s not only just functional but her personality really shines through. And as I mentioned earlier, we can’t wait to bring that both to China and the U.K. later this year.
So I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of the changes we’ve made to Windows and Windows Phone. Some of those things are based on end user and partner feedback to make the experience richer and better, and some of those things are just really there to delight, to create intrigue and demand for Windows devices.
So let’s get Tony back out onstage and see what he thinks about all of this stuff. What do you think, Tony?
TONY PROPHET: Yeah, that was really amazing, Nick. It was great. Do you have anything else up your sleeve?
NICK HEDDERMAN: Well, there was one thing. Can I show it?
TONY PROPHET: Yeah, go for it.
NICK HEDDERMAN: Yeah?
TONY PROPHET: Go for it.
NICK HEDDERMAN: Well, we’ve got this really cool new application we’re building at the moment, and it’s going to be published to the Store pretty soon. And this is a really interesting way that you can customize your lock screen.
So I’m going to choose a picture here. Let’s go for I’ve got this really funky one here. Where is it? Let’s go with the car. And now I’m going to choose this animation. And so I’m going to turn my phone off, back on again, and now you’ll notice that this picture is animated in a really cool way. And as I go to unlock it, it just comes together like that. It’s just a fun way to make your phone feel way more personal.
TONY PROPHET: That’s crazy. That’s great, Nick.
NICK HEDDERMAN: In fact, Tony, I’ve got a question for you. Have you got any more cool stuff to tell this audience?
TONY PROPHET: Yes, we do.
NICK HEDDERMAN: Excellent.
TONY PROPHET: Yeah, but before I answer that, I just want to thank you for the demo.
NICK HEDDERMAN: Thank you.
PROPHET: That was extremely well done.
NICK HEDDERMAN: All right.
TONY PROPHET: That’s amazing.
NICK HEDDERMAN: Thanks, everyone.
TONY PROPHET: Very impressive. (Applause.) It’s impressive and those are great proof points of the principle of regular updates bringing real features. So 8.1 and 8.1 Update weren’t just fixes, those are real delightful, surprising features that are bringing real value to our customers in an update.
So now to the future, pointing to the future, and the future of Windows, the future of computing is about much more than phones, tablets and PCs.
Now, every day we’re surrounded by an explosion of connected devices, the Internet of Things. Now, we believe that Windows is the right platform to power many of these devices. And while many are talking about the Internet of Things, Windows has been a pioneer for decades, Windows and Windows Embedded inside these platforms around the world, a surprising array of platforms, including things like digital signs, scanners, point of sale devices, medical devices like CT machines and MRI machines, ATMs, vending machines, many, many more, so tens of millions of devices in use, connected devices around the world in use every day.
And for these things of the Internet the Windows platform has proven to be scalable with embedded solutions from 300k all the way up to locked down versions of full Windows, scalable, secure and reliable.
So on top of Windows our intent is to use that foundational layer and layer on top of it a suite of cloud-based services powered by Azure that will allow you to connect to your data and manage your devices, allow you to conduct commerce, allow you to control your environment, and allow you to better serve your customers.
In addition, these cloud-based services will allow you to connect your Windows devices to your other Internet of Things end points and devices, building new and un-thought-of synergies, as well as great new value for your applications.
So let me leave you with some of the core principles that will guide Windows in the future. First, we believe in a natural user interface where touch, voice, gesture become core to how you navigate, interact and input data.
We believe in embracing the ongoing wave of hardware innovation, the innovation you’re bringing. We’re going to create new experiences that are going to surprise, like Cortana, and they’re going to delight you.
We believe that winning together requires this broader ecosystem with our partners, right, to constantly test our value equation. We’ve got to reduce costs without compromising quality or without compromising the user experience.
We believe that Windows and the cloud-based services powered by Azure can be core to defining and enabling the Internet of Things.
And finally and most importantly, we believe in the power of this scaled, open — I underline open — vibrant and innovative ecosystem to deliver the next billion Windows devices around the world.
So in short, we believe in you.
So I want to thank you for your time today, but more importantly I want to thank you for your commitment and your investment in the Windows ecosystem.
You know, I couldn’t be more excited about the future of our partnership together. I look forward personally to working with all of you broadly in the ecosystem, and to building the next billion Windows devices together.
So let me welcome Nick Parker back to the stage. (Applause.)
NICK PARKER: Well, this is the exciting bit. This is where we get to talk through everything that you’ve built, some of the new innovation and make some news, because we’ve got some new devices to show right now that have never been seen before in public, and we’re going to kind of go through the whole set of form factors and categories of the Windows partner ecosystem innovation.
So I’m going to start off here with this panel really talking about existing categories with new innovation. You know, the all-in-one category we continue to see growth and we all enjoyed some of that growth in all-in-ones.
I’m going to show you this product here. This is the ASUS 2001, a nice all-in-one product. You can see this really lovely design from our friends down the road, thin, light, and this very, very innovative hinge.
Now, we’re seeing these PCs which are full detachable, high-power PCs get carried more and more around the home, as well as around the workplace, all for under $700. You have two HDMI outs, all of the ports you’d expect and the capability of Windows, and, of course, just as at home with a mouse and keyboard as it is in this full touch mode, and with remote battery capabilities — really nice piece of design there.
Now, the notebook we start to see again some incredible innovations, and this is a form factor that delights so many people around the world, but you really can continue to innovate and drive. And Dell has done this here with its Latitude 3340. As you can see, it’s this ruggedized form factor, great for education. And Dell worked with teachers to build this device. So you have this ruggedized platform, this water-resistant keyboard, and a great feature that I love, which you can see this little tell-tale light on the back. And this will actually enable a teacher to see if the student is on the Internet or not. So it’s a great piece of technology and very, very welcome in the education environment, and again very, very good prices that really enable more people to be able to think and learn.
Now, a category where we’ve seen a lot of energy is this opening price point notebook category. And again our friends down the road from Acer have done a lovely PC. This is the V11, this really nice multiple colors. It’s thin, it’s super light, and very, very accessible price point, very aggressive price points, highly competitive in this category. This is the touch version. And, in fact, the non-touch version that’s about $249, the touch version being less than $300, these are very accessible products. And for someone that wants to live their life with online experiences and cloud and social network and have this great affordable device for very, very affordable price points. These are really nice devices. That’s the V11 and the E11 is the non-touch version, but super, nice metallic finish, very, very fast-moving category at the moment in the opening price point notebook.
And here is the HP, and this is the HP Pavilion 10. And this is running an AMD processor, and this is again a very nice product. This is the opening price point notebook category again in this 11.6 form factor, nice, nice design, very affordable, and, of course, all of the power of Windows in this very compact design.
Ultrabooks continue to get better and better, and no better than the Samsung Series 9 in terms of its design. I mean, just look at how thin and light and beautiful some of these Windows designs can be. Obviously they fold flat, and this has a screen resolution greater than Retina. So we really do see some of the professional capabilities of these products. Of course touch but again just as friendly with mouse and keyboard, but thin and beautiful. And this is what you get from the Windows ecosystem.
Another product that I continue to love, and in fact this is one of the products that I use a lot of the time, is the Acer Aspire S7. This beautiful glass-backed device, using full glass on the back there, folds flat, very thin. I mean that is just absolutely incredible, running Core i7. And this will actually have the Broadwell processor at holiday. So again, the innovation continuing to move, beautiful design, metallic finish, and you will always get a “Wow” in any coffee shop or any business meeting around the world with this lovely white bezel, this metallic finish as well as this glass-backed PC. Very, very nice device.
So the next set of devices I would like to talk about is the two-in-one category. And, again, just like the all-in-ones, we see tremendous growth here and the ability for us to really monetize some of that R&D and delight customers.
And I’m going to start here with this Dell Inspiron 11. And just look at the design features here. Look at these radius edges, the metallic finish, great HD screen, and I don’t know if you can see the radius edge again on the top there. Lovely design language from Dell, silver metallic finish. And, of course, with this very nice hinge design, you can go full 360 and use this product as, again, a new product, you can use this product in full tablet mode.
You don’t have to compromise between a tablet and a PC. You can bring all of that PC capability to a touch form factor and use it in tablet mode whether you just want to browse the Web or consume or just look at something easy to paginate through or just demo something. But at the same time, you’ve got the full capability of the full keyboard and mouse, and so on. And as well as many different modes you can actually use these in like that.
Another great piece of design, and this is where you see the hinge design being unrelenting. This is the Acer Switch. Really nice design, you can see here again the metallic finishes, that lovely kind of brushed metallic finish from the design team at Acer. And very easy just to disconnect the product like that, super to use, very easy. And now you’re in full tablet touch mode, and again a very nice product. See these stereo speakers at the bottom there. These are all reaching affordable price points very easily.
Another product here, and this is the first piece of new news that none of you will have seen up to this point. And, in fact, this is the HP Pro X2 two-in-one. This is a brand new product, never seen before, so it’s my privilege to announce this with the HP team right now this second. And this is the Pro X2. This is a business two-in-one designed from the ground up for business by HP. And this obviously comes with the kind of things that a business would want. You start off with, what does business really want? And you think about security and some of the TPM or manageability and security V Pro from Intel. It comes in i5 and i7. It comes in 3/4G versions. You have HD cameras on the front and the back to enable you to do great meetings as well as great videoconferences. It has a full stylus.
In fact, the stylus on this device uses the full Wacom digitizer with 1024 points of sensitivity on the stylus to really bring some of those analog writing experiences right into digital technology, whether you were using OneNote as your electronic note taking application or just bringing the stylus and Office into a full immersive experience is a very, very nice design. And, of course, you have a battery in the top as well as the bottom, something that business users want, which will give you eight hours or all the way up 14 hours, and it detaches, and it also has a garage here for the stylus. So a really nice device, and that’s for the first time here today. That is the HP Pro X2, and it’s a pleasure to make that announcement.
Another piece of innovation that has been announced in the last couple of days is this absolutely beautiful ASUS T300. This is absolutely gorgeous. Can you imagine the innovation in this design that they have really, really gotten. When you hear the search for incredible, this is what it’s all about. I’m trying to turn it sideways to see if you can see that. This is paper thin. Let’s just separate these two, and let’s see if we can get the right camera angle there so you can see how thin they are. This is the thinnest, lightest tablet in the world. (Applause.)
It’s just stunning. You have to be able to see this to believe it. And you have this really nice kind of 13-inch screen. It’s absolutely beautiful and you imagine Windows on this broad screen, whether it’s you want to run a full Excel spreadsheet that I spend a lot of my life in, or whether you’re just looking at some high-resolution images, this is absolutely beautiful and really showing this kind of innovation first and best on Windows with our partners and great, as well, to see from the strength in Taiwan.
The next device I want to show here is the Lenovo ThinkPad S1 Yoga, again, a really nice business tablet, a lot of magnesium to get the rigidity. You get the lightness and you get the performance qualities of some of these advanced materials, again, a business designed tablet. And with the full Yoga I don’t know if you can notice there, but actually you can see the keys become recessed as you go into the 360 mode, and now they’re flat. So when you’re sitting like this it’s very easy and then as you unfold it the keys come back; again, really nice product, lovely products from Lenovo, ThinkPad Yoga S1.
I have a product here from Kampung (ph), one of our Russian partners. And what this really shows you is you can actually see great diversity and with the Microsoft model of being able to engage you in sales and marketing in country, but also being able to work with you across the innovation centers in Taiwan or Beijing, or Shenzhen, we really can build all of the capability for our go-to-market customers, as well as local needs. And this is a good example of that.
So the next category we have here is tablets. And I’m starting with the Lenovo ThinkPad 10. This product continues to get better and better as we see a very popular product. Of course you have the stylus and the design language that you expect from ThinkPad with that great keyboard that connects there. But, these are tablets designed purely as tablets and keyboard is an accessory that you buy.
Another product here, the Toshiba Encore, this is a nice 10-inch tablet and the great thing with 10-inch tablets, and Tony talked a little bit about this, is the differentiation that Microsoft provides. You know, a Microsoft tablet provides the ports that you want, the peripheral support that you want, obviously coming from the Windows platform, as well as the ability to have ink, as you just saw in the ThinkPad 10, as well as an incredible touch browser and also the speed to work online and offline. That’s why the Windows tablets are better.
And also these 10-inch and the 8-inch tablets that we’ll get to come with Office, as well as Windows. So you can be productive, or you can just sit and browse the Web, or do comments online, or whether it’s just social networking, you get the best of both worlds. This is a really nice piece of design from Toshiba, the 10-inch there.
The next couple of devices here are industry tablets and now you start thinking about, take the power of Windows Professional, the ability to join domains, secure, and bring all of that capability of the enterprise right to the very point of interaction between the human at the very end point and we see these industry tablets. This one here is the Advantech tablet. You can see here it’s ruggedized. You can see you have a lockable dock with port replicator. But, you see a mag stripe reader. That’s just an example of how you can take industry tablets, build businesses on them, build integration and really provide the platform for ISVs, or the independent software vendors, to build commercial applications and build businesses around them.
This is the Arbor Gladius, and again you start to see this incredible ruggedized design with a very specific, unique vertical keypad on the side here, and again a mag stripe reader. And these are modular cases, so that you could add a bar code scanner, or a mag stripe reader very easily.
IEI the ICEROCK 3, again, ruggedized with barcode reader and biometrics, whether it’s the retail environment, the military environment, the healthcare environment, you can really start to see the application of taking an enterprise-grade platform like Windows and Windows Server and Windows Professional, coupled with the incredible innovation of the Windows ecosystem and the hardware ecosystem across design, as well as manufacture, and really start to build these incredible scenarios. I talked earlier about 90 percent of enterprises plan on spending money on mobility. These are the kinds of solutions that enterprises will buy in the next year, 90 percent of them are thinking about mobility.
The one I like to show at the top there, which is the WinMate device, and this is really showing about how the peripherals and ports in use cases can really be a business to themselves. And this actually shows a car mount. So you can see there this is an auto car mount. And you start to see the businesses really start to take access of these incredible tablets on the go, whether it’s touch or whether it’s just different environments, ruggedized, harsh environments, mobile environments, this is where we’re seeing rapid growth.
Now, of course, tablets keep getting smaller and more affordable and this is the next piece of news I’ve got. So again, this is an industry first. And right now this is the Toshiba 7-inch. And so this is a 7-inch device from Toshiba running Windows, again, really, really nice device. Let’s see if we can get the camera shot there, thin, light, you’ve got this beautiful textured finish in this champagne gold.
And what I will say, and I promised Murato-san and the team that we wouldn’t talk price, but what I will say on this device is this will be competitive with other 7-inch devices in the industry. So very, very exciting, beautiful form factor. And as you can imagine Windows, Office, Xbox services, this is Windows to Go, Windows in your pocket at an incredibly exciting aggressive and competitive price. So that’s an industry first today. Great work from the Toshiba team, the Intel team, the Microsoft team to bring that together.
A couple of next devices, again, sort of more on the ruggedized theme. The Panasonic SDM 1, great ruggedized tablet. You can see here the extensibility of the scanner and the modular approach on here. And this is ingress proof, so you start thinking about dustproof and soundproof and waterproof. The Panasonic Tough Pad team does a super, super job with that.
And then at the top there we see another device from one of our partners, and that’s the AmFor (ph) device. So we’re starting to see the ability for us to be able to support many, many partners, and also many, many local needs. So you really can customize these devices by the geographic needs or customer vertical needs.
This is the AAEON RTC-700, another good example of an industry tablet with a mag stripe reader. So you are starting to see secure, ruggedized devices in this business booming.
The next category here, we really start to show now some of our device prototypes from our partners as well as from our ODM and independent design partners.
This is from the OEM Hiya (ph). Again, nice device here. You can start to see this 8-inch device. Really nice features. What in particular we like here is the use of materials and finish. You have this metal material here obviously coupled with this really nice white effect with this good-looking cover, speakers on the top. And, again, the things you’d expect from a Microsoft Windows tablet, ports, peripherals, and this is incredible touch browser and experience. Nice device for Microsoft and Intel there.
We see more devices here. This is the Vivo Tab, and again as we start to look through, this is South Digital device. Two devices from our OEM partner Emdoor here, very nice devices. Again, 7-inch, 8-inch devices. So we’re starting to see this innovation, but also new price points really accelerate the market.
And then, again, these are device prototypes from our ODM partners that we’ll work with in a very deep, new way to enable us to bring new markets as well as new price points. You’ve seen the changes we’ve made in terms of how we support our partners with things like the Windows Hardware Partner Program for phones with Qualcomm as well as some of the changes we’ve made to licensing and policy to really enable and relax restriction as well as increase velocity of time to market to be able to partner together.
And I think this is a year, and someone said it to me earlier in the week, Microsoft broke a lot of glass this year and has really helped the ecosystem. And I hope you feel the humility of us listening, but at the same time the aggression and the excitement that we have of helping you build your businesses, and the changes we’ve made to do that.
This is a good example. This is a four-by-three prototype. So you really are enabled to build the devices that you would like. This is a four-by-three aspect ratio. And if this is something that you have a specific customer need for, as you well know, we can build it on Windows. And that’s a nice prototype of the four-by-three form factor.
Last, but not least, and some of the things that I hold so dearly to my heart is Windows phones from our partners. This first phone here is a wonderful device from Yez. This is a 4.7 Windows Phone. And you’ll notice there, and you’ll see this, having said that, in Nick’s presentation earlier. This is running Windows Phone 8.1, so you can see the new icons. But they really are some beautiful phones. This is available in Central and Eastern Europe. I don’t know if you can see there. A nice phone, nice colors, all the available colors. Really nice form factor, lovely glass.
The Prestigio phone here, and I met the chaps from Prestigio and their ODM team here this week. Again, very, very high quality. Look at the quality of this device, really nice screen, and you can see they’re running Windows 8.1 for phone there. This lovely metal finish, the really high-quality Prestigio logo as well as an 8-megapixel camera. Again, very, very popular phone in Europe from a great brand. We’re really bringing these differentiated experiences to enable customer choice as well as very, very high-end technology and fashion to our customers.
A couple more that I’ll just show here. We have a phone here from one of our OEMs, BLU, and at the top here we have the Westrom Tiger. When you start to start seeing some of these bigger form factors, and you’ll see us make some of those markets and create some of those markets with a couple of the Nokia phones, we really do enable ourselves to establish this as a real true experience that customers get a lot of value out of. When you start thinking about the phablet space, these bigger phones with Office Mobile, you start to really be able to get work done and have a differentiated experience on these devices still using all of that personalization you get from Windows Phone versus some of those other fragmented ecosystems.
And that’s the WESTROM Tiger. It’s a 6.5-inch phablet. We’ve got this lovely design here, this Kung Pao (ph) 6-inch, from Randafoka (ph) Kung Pao again, really nice. You can see it there running Windows 8.1 update and the Windows button on the side and so on.
Really nice designs that can be picked up around the world, we have the In Focus 5-inch design there, the Pegatron Oasis, again, 5-inch design, the device here from BYD. So you’re starting to see such incredible diversity and real innovation in these form factors. So people don’t need to just look the same. They really can have the device that’s right for them; designed for the environment they’re in.
And finally this is a great piece of design here, which is a ruggedized Windows phone from Quanta. Look at how cool that is. This is a ruggedized design, everything you’d want from a rugged design, as well as the protection you’d expect from a phone in that environment, built on the Windows Phone platform, and of course with Office in your pocket there’s really no limits to the innovation that you can get.
So I would like to say thank you, because it’s everyone in this room that’s enabled that incredible innovation to come to market and thank you for the continued partnership as we find the customers and sell together. And what I’d really like to do now is transition on that theme of innovation, which was ours together, to think about the next 10 to 15 year of Microsoft and welcome up Dr. Hon who actually runs the Microsoft Research Center for Asia for us, and he’ll talk a little bit about the future and the next 10 years.
So thank you for your collaboration and let’s invite up Dr. Hon. (Applause.)
Nice to see you.
DR. HSIAO-WUEN HON: Nice to see you.
: So we’re going to sit down and do a few questions if you don’t mind for the audience. This should be exciting.
So Hon, I’ll call you Hon, that’s what we call you at work. So, Hon, you’re local. Tell us a little bit about what it’s like kind of coming home to Taiwan.
DR. HSIAO-WUEN HON: Yes, so I’m really excited. I actually was born within (inaudible). Some people probably know where it is. And I grew up here, all the way through my college. I finished my college at the National Taiwan University and went to the U.S. to get my Ph.D. and came to Microsoft almost 20 years ago. So here’s me and my parents, my sister and brother all live here. So I come back on a constant basis.
Also in my job, heading the research facility in Beijing, we call Microsoft Research Asia, the Taiwan academics in university, government, industry, are really our very usual collaborators. So I actually come here on a regular basis. So I’m very grateful to be here with you and then also see all this exciting Microsoft product lineup.
: Now, it’s great to have you here. So as we start to think about the role of Microsoft Research in the company, what does Microsoft really do and what does particularly the Microsoft Research in Asia that you run for us, tell me a little bit about that business and what that does?
DR. HSIAO-WUEN HON: Great. So I think our mission, first and foremost, is actually about collaboration ecosystem partnerships, because I’m sure you’ll agree with me in the entire human being history the technology advance cannot rely on any single company, any single university, or any single nation. So I think we need to collaborate to actually advance with what we call state of the art in all the fundamental technologies required for the IT industry. And I think that’s really the role of the Microsoft Research.
You will also agree with me, the IT sector has the rapid change and I think technology changes just so fast and I think the paradigm shift happens so often the company that misses the trend there will be severe consequences. So I think our goal first and foremost is working with the entire academic and the industry to advance the state of the art.
And of course, I think we actually have more than about 1,000 Ph.D.s working in Microsoft Research worldwide and we have about 200 such people working in Beijing. And then we can actually go to university to be a professor. Actually to tell the truth, we actually have five Turing Award winners. I’m sure most of you know the Turing Award in our area is the Nobel Prize. And then this year we just have fresh out of the oven Leslie Lamport just won this year’s Turing Award.
And then we actually have a Fields Medal winner who is, again, Nobel Prize in mathematics, we also have one in research. And then, like I said, why we are not in university but in Microsoft is because the exploration for our work is really to deliver an innovative product with a technology from Microsoft Research that’s used and enjoyed by billions of the users worldwide. And that’s why we are in Microsoft. In Microsoft Research we call this technology transfer. And today, actually, there are many demos where they actually come from MSR technology, just two of them showing today, the swipe the swipe input, which comes from Microsoft Research, and then the Cortana, the speech, actually my own area, and which also comes from the technology that comes from Research. We actually invent, Microsoft as a company, we invent almost 30 years ago, 35 years.
And the third one, really like I say, the technology transfers rapidly. It’s more the style we use innovation to ensure Microsoft in the future. And to quote our CEO Satya who just said lately, in our industry there is no respect for tradition, there is only respect for innovation. And our job is to help Microsoft work with the rest of R&D to deliver the innovative products.
: I mean it’s phenomenal just to hear in your team, like you say, you’ve got five Turing Awards. This is just a phenomenal group of people that are really sort of plotting the future of our company with our partners. This is ultimately enabling them to partake in so much of the future.
So I guess that kind of leads me to the next question, which is, and it’s a very big question, when you start to think about the future of computing, and also the role of computer science in the future of computing, how do you think about that? Because with us and our partners a lot of what you do, as you talked about, like Cortana or Kinect, ultimately just ends up in technology that we share and we build capabilities on. The future of computing and how computer science works, what’s your views on that?
HSIAO-WUEN HON: So I think to say this, let me bring some historical perspective just myself. I don’t consider myself very old, but I’m not very young. When I started in college, the whole entire university tied up. We share one computer as big as this room called a mainframe. And then today this mainframe is smaller than a mobile phone. Actually today, you can easily buy something which is more powerful than the mainframe computer we shared back really less than 30 years ago. And not to mention, we actually have many of them. Sales people carry multiple phones, multiple wearables, multiple PCs. So when we talk about Microsoft today, devices and services, and then having, of course, 30 years ago, when I first started doing computer science, there is no device concept. There is probably the whole room. Today even though we talk about container datacenters, they were at that time even bigger containers. And services, at that time we actually do have an Internet. The Internet was actually started in 1969, which is 45-50 years ago. But the Internet stayed something very academic, which is far away from service, not to even mention to the general public. And the Internet really started, the HTML browser, 95, which is I think is less than 20 years ago. So I think it’s amazing how soon this device and service really becomes every part of our life.
And then talking about the future of technology, now this is a historical perspective, this will show you how exciting it is. And now, first, I think when people talk about machine learning today, actually, Nick, you also talked about a lot of the machine learning. And I think people also talk about artificial intelligence. And I think the excitement about really something to learn from data, from your behavior, watch how you do things. And then, just like a human being, the most amazing ability of a human is learning, and do something better, learn from mistakes, learn also to succeed to reinforce, all this kind of stuff which is almost everything we do today there is machine-learning in there.
Now if you look at if we deviate from technology and look at the user point of view, what’s most important to us? First, start with the individual, right? So we talk about NUI, all the technology, speech, computer vision, all the bio-sensor, and the Cortana, we’re talking about personal, and we have all the sensors that can sensor ourselves. People also talk about health, this wearable which can actually get your vital signs to help you to do all these kinds of things.
So this NUI, this natural user interface, which can really take your input sent to you and always be there to provide the basis to provide the personal assistant. And I think that’s amazing. I mean, I think of Cortana. I don’t know how many people just saw a movie lately called Her, H-e-r. It’s a virtual OS, the OS1, which would be their OS with you, and it’s like your guardian angel. Even though I’m very excited we actually have a Cortana shipped, but I think they’ve just barely scratched the surface.
Thinking about how a personal assistant can do for you 24 by 7, and never will complain about work and then also taking care of your digital work, also your digital life. And they have a harmony and then not only you will not miss meetings, and always prepare you for the next thing, proactively helping you, and yes, it’s virtual and you also feel secure to really talk to an assistant, which can really know so much about you. So I think that’s will absolutely be in the next 10 to 15 years we will really have something close to what you see in the movie called Her, right.
And then start individual, now, we cannot live alone so this is why we need social, we need social networks. But, I want to explain a little bit. I know people will say what does Microsoft have to do with social networks? If you’re thinking about the whole in Microsoft we call it information start with search engine, Bing, and then also Bing not only knows about the Web, and then the Web is actually it’s the whole human intelligence all together, because look at all the Web pages, and all the nice things, the Wikipedia, all this nice knowledge there. And I think the reason Cortana can be the movie Her can provide you with this assistance it’s because all this collective knowledge, not just a single guy, the entire human intelligence we call the information fabric, which gets you the information you want. This has never happened before.
And then we talk about AI. Some people who probably touch AI will know, where AI started was to simulate people’s intelligence. But, today we can do far more than that. The human plus this assistant, plus AI, you can do a super man, which is something no human can do before, no machine can do before, this combination.
So I’m really optimistic. I know the movie always shows machines combined with humans. But, I think if you look at the entire history it’s always human plus machinery, whether it’s a knife in the Stone Age, or a human and the car, we always combine. We can do something that’s never been done before.
Now the last not least, how about environment? Well, I come from Beijing, every day people are talking about smog and all this and even Taiwan Taipei I think the air quality is probably also getting slightly worse in the last few years. So the environment, the harmony with the environment is absolutely important. Today we have something called Internet of Things. The nice thing about Internet of Things is we can really sense anything that happens surrounding us. And I think it’s really pervasively, everywhere, every time, any time.
So I think once we have this, and this is everything all combined, so big data, everything about yourself, everything about this human society, everything about the everything in the world, if you have the ability to get the data, you look at the again, I always mention the historical, history. My wife is a history major. So I always, of course, I need to understand history, right. So I think if you look at the entire human history it’s always a so-called feedback cycle. You actually we have all this imagination, then we build something, we actually deploy it, then based on the data we come back, we find a way to improve this thing and continue iterating.
It used to be you take a year, or even hundreds of years to close a cycle. Today with devices and services, with all this wearable, PC, personal devices, you can really quickly get the data and the cycle through. And then within days we can improve one cycle, or even several cycles. So I think we used to say the sky is the only limit. I would say this is too conservative. And I think you probably should say the universe is the only limit. So I think I’m so excited about the future.
NICK PARKER: I love that. The universe is only the limit. That’s what I like to hear. As a sales and marketing guy I know that you’re going to have me working on the universe, so let’s just make sure we keep that very clear to my manager.
So when you start thinking about the actual things you’re working on and sort of now let’s kind of just get it a little bit more specific, particularly for this audience, what are the things that you just love the most? What are the things you’re most passionate? For me it’s like the new devices and how we work with customers and our partners. What is it for you?
DR. HSIAO-WUEN HON: So I think that we mentioned Cortana. I really was an AI major and I started with speech recognition 30 years ago when I was a college student. And then it’s really so refreshing, so satisfying to see Cortana where our competitor doing the Siri Google now, now becomes mainstream a product and people rely on the day-to-day basis, the personal assistant. I talk about Her, and I think I just cannot say how exciting. And then like I say, we’re just barely scratching the surface.
And I think today with all this big data, and the system knows so much about me, and also knows so much about the world, the human and the society, knowing all that’s happening. I mean my advisor, who is yet also another Turing Award winner, I feel very proud of. I was with him yesterday, he visited us in Beijing. And we talked about this guardian angel concept. You extend this Her/Cortana concept so a lot of things really can be prevented. I mean, earthquakes, maybe the thunderstorm, the typhoon, some of this you really can be if you can get a tsunami, or even sometimes an unfortunate terrorist event, if you can just get this notification or alert or some kind of probability that tells you the time, the place, someplace might have something happen. Well, I know Taipei also has some unfortunate things happen lately, some really unfortunate thing happening in the subway system. Some of this can be communicated, just like thinking about the movie. It’s not that really a disaster or some of the things can really be prevented, and then, like I say, even just ten minutes before, and how much we can do. And I think that we are really close in that we start with this Cortana. And I think it’s really exciting.
And I think that all the technology you talk about big data, NUI, speech recognition, natural language, search, all this all combined. Although in Microsoft we call them task completion, and I think every day you try to do a lot of things, this could be a project working with me. It could be something I promised my wife, when I go home I need to have a shopping list to bring milk and cookies for tomorrow’s breakfast. And I want them both. In the past, you need to make the choice, well, I forgot this, this is more important. And plus, something I do not anticipate, I might get a proactive notification, proactive health, and I think that’s really what we talk about. And then this is really comes from my own view, and I just cannot wait to go back to the lab working with my colleagues to actually push releases out.
NICK PARKER: I think speech recognition is just phenomenal to see the past, so I can truly understand why you’re passionate, and also the ability, like you say, to connect that information from every part of our society and then use it to be predictive, to actually enable feedback to our society. That’s just wonderful.
The next question is, a lot of people in the audience, particularly in this audience because of the innovation edge that they live on, is a lot of the technology or some of the technology we have today actually was built in Microsoft Research and then comes to the ecosystem. Why don’t you give us another example of a product that you are working on and how that’s starting to come to market?
HSIAO-WUEN HON: OK. I think some of you probably know about a week ago our CEO Satya, actually participated in the Code interview in the U.S. and then Gurdeep, who is our CVP in Skype, and to demonstrate and also announce our intention to ship something called Skype speech-to-speech translation soon. And I think that today when I actually work, I’m a local guy so what I speak is Chinese or English with you. And I really wish very soon we really can solve this problem, which is doing it simultaneously speech-to-speech translation. And as we know, language is a big barrier for people to communicate if you don’t understand each other’s languages.
So we built this real-time. The end goal is any pair, but we’ll start with some language pairs to do a speech-to-speech translation to help to break the language boundary. And I think some of you have seen the demo before, actually I also showed one about six months ago in Taiwan. I think as early as 18 months ago, my boss, Rick Rashid, showed this in China, really real-time speech-to-speech.
And I think today I actually would prepare videos, some people just want people to know and probably appreciate more what is happening behind the scenes, to actually make this happen, this real-time speech-to-speech translation.
So now here’s the video.
: That is just tremendous. That is tremendous. You have one of the coolest jobs, breaking down some of the oldest barriers known to the human race just in that Skype-to-Skype. I’m very much looking forward to selling it, just so you know.
OK. So kind of next question, how will the work from Microsoft Research impact the hardware ecosystem, or hardware partners?
DR. HSIAO-WUEN HON: So before I mention any examples, the research, the work done in Microsoft Research always is really work with the entire academics and industry to advance the state of the art. And the hardware specifically, you will always have some research in hardware. Of course, as we look at the work, our partners, you work more on this hardware space. A lot of value and intelligence is always in the software. So I’m sure you agree with me and over time software/hardware boundaries might change
So the research done in MSR, we actually do those we have a hardware technology I will give the example. But, it’s more than we work on hardware technology. We might even never really build that piece of hardware. But, the important part is to know how the hardware is used in the platform, also how do we do to promote a broad use, a mainstream use of those new hardware, not to mention the hardware and software boundary always will change from time to time, based on whatever happens in the technology.
So in terms of this space, in the research, of course now we have the product plans, we have all this stuff. Of course, we’d like to see it happen in the next 10 to 15 years, or even hopefully sooner. But, really nothing we can actually announce, and so mostly video technology. And then solve the piece which I think is very crucial, and I think we actually have we have quite a few people in MSR working on, sensors. Early on I think we mentioned a lot of the wearable, Internet of Things, and I think intelligence, you really require intelligent sensors to actually get accurate and rapid, real-time information, which is created from the sensors like you already know, already mainstream, the accelerometer, gyroscope, those kind of things. But, now the new type are the health sensors, and I think we certainly need now all the partners and we kind of see how we can actually work together and there are some specific ones.
One particular one I’d also like to mention, I predict, in the future I would like more people to work on this, including MSR, to actually help to push into mainstream haptics. Today the mainstream, the touch screen is mainstream already. And then but most of what we do is for the touch screen to actually sense when, how and where we touch a screen. But, the feedback we get is just a glass, some glass, and then cold and hot. So I think you will agree with me, just like when we actually do games we have this force feedback joystick. So you want this with so-called haptics feedback.
And then in the mobile phone, the vibration, already is very common. Every phone has a vibration. That’s one of the haptics. The others that I think will continue to be more important hopefully one day will become mainstream, one is the friction. When you actually, kind of like your finger in a swipe is a good example, but when you actually cross the different regions on your screen, it would be nice if you have a different friction, a different texture and then this way I think it will help you, in addition to visual feedback, you know where you touch and you also know where the machine actually gets your touch.
The other one, probably could be even more useful, is the software keyboard on this screen is really very hard and then a lot of times we touch so many times we don’t know if they get it or not. There are technologies, which we’re also trying to investigate, is like can we actually create this displacement sensation, in which you feel the screen actually sinking. Of course, the screen is still you don’t break the glass. But, it’s really possible we can do that then, and I think you will feel touch on a screen almost as good as your touch on the real keyboard.
So I think those are some things, again, I think the research we publish all the results, we want more of our partners in academics and industry to actually to do this and all together make them mainstream, just like GUI, just like the touch screen.
: That’s phenomenal. And that’s very, very relevant to the partners we have in this audience. So here’s the biggest question of all. What’s your view on the future of computing?
DR. HSIAO-WUEN HON: Yes, I think we already said a lot about this and we talk about Microsoft is the device and the service company. And I want to mention the other aspects, which I think some people probably a lot of times, particularly in our media, this is in Microsoft what we call digital work plus digital life.
I think people often say, oh, this is enterprise software. Oh, they are a company doing this, Microsoft doesn’t go out there. They are in the consumer space. There are other companies who work on this. And then I think typically they immediately put more on the digital life.
But something I think they fail to capture, we at Microsoft, using me as an example, when I’m in the office, I’m the knowledge worker. When I go home, I want to live my life. We talk about work/life balance, and all this. But today more than that, you cannot separate it. Because of the devices and services, people mix work and life together. So this is why, and there is also a phenomenon called bring your device to work. And then which means when you are at work your wife might send you something that needs your attention. You can do it. And then when you are home, you can also do something, replies on email, and then make some work done. And so everyone always has a digital work and digital life. And I think whoever can find a way to give you the best device, best services, and then let you take care of not just work, not just life, take your work and life altogether and make you more productive, also fun, and also fulfill all the things you want to do. I think we are in a very sweet window.
And I’m really excited to be in Microsoft for the last 20 years. I completely look forward to working myself for many, and many, many years. It’s because I think Microsoft is in a very good position to really do it right, because our investment, our strength in both Office, the enterprise software, and cloud, our strength, experience in consumer, whether it’s the platform, consumer device, and the consumer services, and then Xbox investments. So I think that this digital work and digital life, I think it will be a huge paradigm shift, and I think we will definitely make sure at Microsoft we will be on the frontline of this, and Microsoft Research will make sure we’ll deliver the key technologies, whether it’s hardware, software or service.
: That’s phenomenal. It’s always so inspiring to hear you talk from Microsoft. I mean, it’s you in MSR who really are the guardian angels of our future, and it’s just so inspiring. You have a very wonderful job, and I’m so happy that you could come and talk to us. Thank you so much.
DR. HSIAO-WUEN HON
: Thank you.
: Thank you so much, Hon. I’ll see you back in the office.
So I think that wraps up our presentation, but as I leave you I would really like to think that we’ve done a very, very sort of sincere job of showing you what the customer value is that we imagine for all of our customers, and how we can partner together to grow out businesses with that. I think you’ve seen the agility and the ability of Microsoft to really break glass with how we drive our business and look forward to the future and do things that really we may not have imagined at the start of the year as we talk about our historic announcements on Windows business model and products, as well as some of the incredible innovation you’ve done, and we’ve seen some of these fast-moving device categories, and our ability to go up in them together.
So thank you very much. It’s real value and real partnership opportunity and let’s look forward to the next year together. Please reach out to us with any ideas or anything you think we can do to make your lives and your business more successful, because I truly believe with a future like that from Microsoft Research, with the engagement today that we have on Microsoft Windows, together we can win and grow our businesses.
Thank you very much. Thank you.