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Dave Olson, Published June 05 2012

Microsoft chief operating officer visits Fargo; says company updating on all fronts

FARGO – Microsoft will invest more than $9 billion in research and development this year, with much of that spending centering on cloud computing and Microsoft’s next operating system, Windows 8.

Microsoft’s chief operating officer, Kevin Turner, outlined the company’s plans Tuesday during a visit to Fargo that was part of Turner’s annual checkup on Microsoft campuses.

“This is a real transformational year for us from an innovation perspective,” Turner said.

“Every product, every solution and every service that we have in the entire company is being refreshed and updated and relaunched. That’s a really hefty challenge for us on the business side, and it’s a very exciting opportunity for us to work more closely with our customers and our partners in the field,” Turner said.

When it comes to cloud computing, a simple way to think about it is to view it as the delivery over the Internet of computing and digital storage capacity. It typically means entrusting a service with a user’s data and software.

While it is still talked about as a trend, in a few years cloud computing will be accepted by many as just another way to find, share and use information, according to Turner.

“Most people want to have their information follow them regardless of where they are and on what device. In its simplest form, the cloud enables that,” he said.

On the subject of Windows 8, Turner said no release date has been announced, but when the operating system does go public, it will be the single biggest launch in the history of the company.

“For the very first time,” he said, “we will have a consistent, metro-style user interface across the smartphone, the tablet, the slate, the laptop, the desktop and the television.

“Unifying that user experience is something we’re very, very excited about,” he added.

Turner’s visit to the Fargo campus Tuesday was his seventh in as many years.

He said the trips confirm the strengths of the Fargo location.

“We have a very high- quality team here; we always have,” Turner said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555