Don Dodge and Ed Sim both have written up Microsoft’s VC Summit.
From Don’s post, there is this snippet:
“VCs are always interested in Microsoft's acquisition activity and direction. Over the past 12 months Microsoft has made 22 acquisitions totaling nearly $1B. This compares to just 9 acquisitions the previous year. The acquisition pace is likely to accelerate.”
From Ed’s post:
“I have to admit I was pretty impressed by the openness of the Microsoft executives and the sheer amount of new technology they will be bringing to market in 2007. My favorite technology which I saw in action was Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF, formerly called Avalon) and WPF/E (cross platform subset of WPF). The demos that I saw really showed me what the next generation of rich, web-based interfaces could look like beyond today's AJAX and Flash.”
As you’ve probably read before, I try hard think about what’s around the corner and go there first. Here’s an interesting observation for you with respect to the VC summit.
It’s no secret that, like em or hate em, Microsoft has built a pretty good ecosystem around Windows. Thousands of people making money, tons of applications, etc, etc. There is, tho, and area that typically has not seen an ecosystem grown up around it on the scale of what the Windows franchise has produced.
Office 2007 – A New Ecosystem.
While most of the VC attendees where piling into the Vista or other systems break out sessions, I headed into the room where the Office folks were talking about Sharepoint, the “Office System” and what was in beta now and being released for 2007. In short, my suggestion to you when looking for a place to innovate and ride some of the MSFT coattail is to dig into Office, Sharepoint, Live Communications Server, and all of the developer opportunities contained within these products. In the keynote about Office as well as the break out, the word “system” was used repeatedly.
During the break out I attended, the room was full of Microsoft people and three VCs. To me, a golden opportunity to ask some deeper questions on products and opportunities for my portfolio companies. It was a great session and one that I was delighted the other guys weren’t around for. Office 2007’s server offerings, new licensing models, etc, are all going to give developers (VC backed and smaller start up types alike) a wealth of opportunities to make a few coins.
Finally, a web site you should consider taking a look at. www.Microsoftstartupzone.com is live.
There are a couple of things to note on this web site that may be of interest to you. First, in the spirit of Robert Scoble, everybody has real email addresses right on the home page. The folks you see on that page are tasked with working for you. There is a simple way to get attention and assistance: Ask a lucid question. If you are trying to schedule a meeting with Bill Gates, not much of a response will be coming your way. If, on the other hand, you’ve got some questions on how to get information, licensing data, etc, from Microsoft, these folks will help you.
Don Dodge is listed along with Cliff Reeves, among others. I point out Cliff as he’s been around a very long time, from IBM/Lotus days, and is a very smart/helpful person if you are looking into collaboration and such. The team has many other smart, experienced folks and the web site contains good information to get you started with the Microsoft machine.
All in all, a good event by Microsoft and one where the portfolio companies of each VC should be receiving some interesting and (hopefully) valuable data about MSFT.