Microsoft To Channel: 'Mobile The New Normal,' But Don't Wait


Another big part of Microsoft's mobile push is Office 365, especially the Microsoft SharePoint component, Microsoft's Condie said.

"Customers can use it to create apps that are mobile-enabled because they are cloud-based apps," he said.

Office 365 was designed for collaboration between not only users but also multiple devices, Condie said. A single Office 365 license allows it to be installed by a user on up to five compute devices and up to five mobile devices including mobile phones such as iOS and Android devices, for a total of up to 10 devices, he said. This is the same for companies ranging from small businesses to enterprises.

"The goal is to create a consistent experience across not just one device but across all devices," he said.

It is especially important for solution providers to get ready for Windows 8.1 now that Microsoft has announced April 8, 2014, as the day support for Windows XP and Office 2003 will end, Condie said.

This will result in a massive security issue, given that Microsoft every month issues a security bulletin on known vulnerabilities, and then addresses them, he said.

"After April 8, those releases will not include Windows XP," he said. "After the May vulnerability report is released, people will be looking at the report and testing those vulnerabilities against Windows XP."

Condie also urged solution providers to move customers from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1, which will provide them much higher security and faster boot times and performance than Windows 7, he said.

"But, you need to get over some of the initial perceptions caused by Windows 8," he said. "We're talking Windows 8.1 now."

Microsoft's OEM partners are developing tablets, 2-in-1 convertible laptops, traditional laptops, and all-in-one PCs based on Windows 8.1, with 8-inch tablets based on the operation system expected to ship for less than $250 by year-end and value PCs for less than $300, Condie said.

Microsoft, meanwhile, will be shipping its Surface 2 Pro for business users in the near future. It will have a docking station that allows the tablet to be used as a desktop PC when docked but reverts it to tablet functionality when slid out of the dock, he said.

"This addresses all the gaps not present before the Surface and with Window 8," he said.

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