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Microsoft COO: Our greatest enemy is old Windows

'Windows XP, Office 2003, IE6 - you know what? Dead'

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WPC 2011 The cloud doesn't hurt Microsoft's business, but the company does suffer an image problem related to "old software", according to the company's chief operating officer.

Speaking to 14,000 Microsoft partners on Wednesday, Kevin Turner played down fears that the cloud will hurt Microsoft's software business, insisting that it has actually helped sales of on-premises software. Some of these very partners have feared disintermediation, as Microsoft and customers move from desktop and server software to running applications delivered through a browser.

Turner told his audience at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) that they should install Active Directory and Systems Center from end-to-end inside customer operations, claiming this would help prepare customers for the move to cloud computing.

He also instructed partners to prep customers by moving them off Windows XP, Office 2003, and Internet Explorer 6 to the "new world" of Windows 7, Office 2010, and IE9.

"Windows XP, Office 2003, and IE6 deserve a standing ovation. God bless them. They've worked for the last twelve, thirteen years. We love those products. We absolutely love those products. They've been so good to so many people, including the people in this room," he said.

"But you know what? They're dead. They're dead. End of life is 2014. We have to get behind this refresh."

And therein lies Microsoft's image problem.

The bullish "KT" – as he's referred to within Microsoft – said that too many customers define Microsoft by old versions of Windows and old versions of Office. "That's what they think of Microsoft and our partner ecosystem. Too many of them do," he said.

"The reality is that's not what we are at all," he added, pointing to Lync, SharePoint, collaboration, and cloud services such as Windows Azure and the just-released Office 365. You can't even begin to get someone's mind around Lync and the power of SharePoint and collaboration and the cloud until we get these old applications remediated and moved forward."

Continuing the rallying cry, Turner said that Microsoft now has 42,000 partners currently trained on the cloud. "We need 642,000," he said.

Microsoft needs to break its link with the "old software" not only in the business market, but in the consumer market as well. Turner said Microsoft's goal was to win in mobile phones by making "big bets". This includes its deal with Nokia. Microsoft's dream is to ship 100 million Windows Phone units each year. "We have to do some very strategic things to get our mobile phone volume up," Turner said. ®

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