I can't say I have ever really paid much attention to our Financial Analyst Meetings (FAM) other than to grab the cool slides they always use during them. However, this time around the FAM was *very* interesting. Why? Not one but two things actually - though Zune is the one getting all the attention. Robbie Bach heads up HED and talked about the new music player we're bringing to market. It sounds like it will have a US launch later this year so expect the Xmas rush in the UK to be based on importing as many US models as possible - trust me, eBay and others are going to make a killing here.
Choice quote: "Microsoft will be involved in the hardware, in the software, and the services. We think that's important to produce the number one thing that has to happen in this marketplace, which is a great customer experience. And we have to tie those things together in some ways like we have in the Xbox world, where in the hardware, software, and Xbox Live service we have tied things together in a great experience."
If you want to know more abbot Zune, check out the viral site and register at Coming Zune
Next up was Ray Ozzie. I was very frustrated to have missed Ray at our recent MGX event in Orlando due to bad flight planning by AMEX but I've seen him once before and hopefully will see him again soon. Meantime his FA pitch had plenty to keep me interested with a great insight in to how we and others will build software in the new world of services. I think this is going to have a profound effect on Microsoft's partners and Ray goes much deeper in discussing it than SteveB had chance to at WorldWide Partner Conference. Rather than blather on about it here, this is what Ray chose to talk about and why I think you should go view the Webcast as with all due respect, it's way more interesting than Zune:
"As many of you are already pretty aware, I strongly believe that Internet services will play a very important role for Microsoft moving forward. So I thought I'd devote my entire time with you today on that specific topic. I'll lay out three things. First, why I believe that a fundamental transformational shift toward services is a necessary and appropriate course of action for all technology companies at this juncture. Second, I'll lay out a specific service-centric conceptual model that's intended to help you understand how we're now framing the "what" and the "why" of Microsoft's offerings across all markets. And finally I'll lay out some metrics that I'm using and we're using to measure our progress in services."