An Irishman in Beijing

Posted By Barb Edson
General Manager, Marketing and Business Development

Last week, as China marked a major political milestone, my colleague John Doyle had the great fortune of being in Beijing to celebrate a milestone of sorts for Microsoft: the announcement of the planned roll out of a new suite of Windows Embedded 8 products. John is the director of product management for Windows Embedded; here, he offers his impressions of the historic week.

Just returned from a week in Beijing. It was a really interesting time to experience the capital city as last Thursday marked the first leadership transition in a decade.


Coincidentally, the last time I was in China was a decade ago and to say things have changed is a major understatement. It’s no surprise that this is one of the fastest-growing economies. This is precisely why I traveled thousands of miles to meet with customers and to formally announce Windows Embedded 8’s roadmap. What struck me was the volume of questions I got about why we decided to announce in Asia-Pacific. It’s interesting that the notion still exists that for Microsoft, Redmond is the center of the universe. While I would never discount the amazing innovation happening in the U.S. (or EMEA for that matter), there is so much going on in Asia-Pacific and many of our key partners and customers are based here. According to our friends over at IDC, “Today, the intelligent systems market in Asia, including China, is nearly $260 billion and over 338 million units, and in 2016 IDC predicts the intelligent systems market in Asia will be $477 billion in revenue and nearly 700 million units. This represents 1/3 of the worldwide intelligent systems market.” Those numbers are not surprising when you look around. Intelligent systems innovation is everywhere and working with our partners, we have a tremendous opportunity to push the envelope even further.

I also got a lot of questions from press about Microsoft’s own transition. 2012 is a huge year for the company with Windows 8, Surface, Widows Server 2012, etc. reimaging the computing experience. 2012 was a huge year of transition for Windows Embedded as well. We announced the intelligent system category and delivered an updated roadmap for our products to help our customer and partners deliver solutions that unlock valuable data which leads to greater insights for business.

One point I stressed was how we are changing the way we work with our partners to create solutions that solves their customer’s business problems and creates better experiences for people interfacing with the technology.

All work and no play makes John a dull boy, and I managed to sneak in a trip to The Forbidden City to mix my modern Beijing experience with a dash of traditional. Given the aforementioned leadership transition, security at the Forbidden City was pretty insane. I went through at least 3 checkpoints to make it to the gates. But it was worth it to experience this historical moment at such a historical place!

I will leave you with a fun fact I learned on my trip: China (the 3rd largest country in the world) has one time zone.

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