Cloud computing has dominated the first day of Microsoft's worldwide partner conference (WPC) with the vendor making product announcements and underlining to resellers just how important the hosted application option is for customers.
Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, used his keynote address to talk about the contribution the channel made to its business as well as the need to look to the future and embrace the cloud.
"We are at an inflection point in technology history," Ballmer said. "For customers, cloud computing creates tremendous value, which translates to massive opportunity for Microsoft and its partners."
"As in past technology transitions, Microsoft will help partners embrace the industry's transformation to realize their opportunity and continue to be economic drivers for their local community," he added.
Microsoft's 640,000 global partners generated more than 6m jobs and $537bn on local revenues last year according to the vendor.
Microsoft has used WPC to announce its first Windows Azure cloud based appliance which is designed to be deployed in customer and service provider datacentres. The product is being trialled by Dell, eBay, Fujitsu and HP.
Quoting IDC research the vendor outlined the potential shift towards cloud computing over the next few years, with the analyst house predicting it will drive 19% of new growth in software spending in 2013-2014.
IDC also expects cloud spending to grow five times faster, with a 26% annual compund growth rate, than all applications spending.
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