With the rumor mill about Microsoft and possible announcements on restructuring now in overdrive, Microsoft has been using its Worldwide Partner conference in Texas to outline its business priorities.

Microsoft Business Speculation

While the list that appeared during the Licensing Solution Partners (LSP) session yesterday is not a definitive list, it does give an idea of where Microsoft wants to go in the coming year.

That the list appeared yesterday is probably no coincidence and probably timed so as to avoid stealing the thunder of Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner who will present what is likely to be a more comprehensive list during his intervention at the Partner’s Conference today (Wednesday).

That both are talking this up now is also possibly significant in that tomorrow is expected to be the day when Microsoft finally puts an end speculation about restructuring and makes a clean breast of it.

Then again, maybe it won’t. It is the nature of corporate rumors that they never let the facts get in the way of a good story, so to speculate on whether it will announce restructuring, or not, is futile at this point.

Microsoft Priorities

The only facts that anyone has at the moment is the list of business priorities that appeared during the LSP session on a slide that was shown during the presentation.

Presented as a list of top sales priorities, there is nothing particularly surprising about them, except maybe the fact that they should have to be mentioned at all.

The majority of them relate to major Microsoft announcements over the past year, or to product changes that have been already flagged. They include:

  1. Partners should push Windows 8 tablets and apps as a priority
  2. Push Office 365 and the new Office as an alternative to Google’s business apps
  3. Build on Yammer, SharePoint and CRM developments and upgrades
  4. Stress the business value of management, security, productivity and app-dev and Microsoft’s abilities here
  5. Get rid of XP and encourage users to move to newer Windows/Office versions
  6. Continue to put the pressure on Amazon Web Services by pushing Azure and Hyper-V
  7. Push SQL Servers as a solution to big data and data warehousing
  8. Push the new Dynamics versions of CRM and AX for customer management and ERP

There is nothing startling here, but some of the statistics used to justify these priorities and cited by Mary Jo-Foley in ZDNet are telling.

The XP end-of-life date, next April, will effect 10 million PCs. Nearly 89% of all Microsoft customers are not using any of the Microsoft cloud products or services including Office 365, Windows Azure, Windows Intune and Windows CRM.

On top of this, 40,000 new Microsoft customers are spending US$ 25,000 with Microsoft. Finally, while 30,000 of Microsoft's "managed"/largest customers have subscriptions with Microsoft, 40,000 don’t.

If this looks like a case of a lot done, but a lot more to do, that is probably some of the thinking behind whatever restructuring is on the way even if it is not described in those exact terms.

Office 365 Updates

Meanwhile, Microsoft has finally given details of its progress on its Office 365 upgrade push. The problem stems from the fact that when it updated its apps in October 2012 it put new customers on the new feature set first, but couldn’t say when older customers would get the new set.

Last week just before the holiday, in a Technical Blog post it said that over 75% of customers had been moved, while those that have yet to hear about their upgrades can expect to hear in the next few months.

For those of you who want the new functionality as soon as possible, the new Office Web Apps and Office 365 ProPlus client technology is in users’ pre-upgrade environment, the post says.