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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)

42nd Annual JPMorgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference Call

May 20, 2014, 09:20 AM ET

Executives

Judson Althoff - President, Microsoft North America

Analysts

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

Hi, everyone. My name is Sterling Auty. I am the Software Technology Analyst here at JPMorgan. Very happy to have with us Judson Althoff, who is the President of Microsoft Americas. I am going to turn the microphone over to Judson. Just an introduction, little bit of background; I am going to start in terms of few questions and then I want to bring the audience questions in as quickly as possible.

So with that Judson?

Judson Althoff

Hey, thanks Sterling. So good morning everybody and thanks for spending the time with us today. I am thrilled to be here. Just by way of introduction I've been with Microsoft, just a little over a year now. I spent 14 years prior to that at Oracle and several years at EMC, so I have been in the enterprise software space my entire career.

I came to the company because I am really thrilled about where we're headed as an organization. I believe our future stands to be much brighter than even our story past and we've got just a fantastic portfolio of intellectual property to bring to bear in a set of markets across the IT industry that are booming from devices, the cloud, big data and data analytics and social. And we have assets that allow us to capitalize on value like no other company across those markets. So thrilled to be here and excited to get through the session today.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

All right, sounds good. Maybe for a way of setting context, can you give us an overview of kind of how the North American sales organization is structured?

Judson Althoff

Sure. So in North American we run about a $25 billion business across 8,000 folks and structured really into four major categories. We have our consumer business; we have a mid-market, small, medium business segment, a large corporate enterprise segment and a public sector organization.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

And when you look across that structure how do you kind of evaluate the successes or key metrics that you are really using to run that business?

Judson Althoff

Yeah, quite a few actually we would have everything from what you would expect from a financial P&L outlook on each one of the businesses as well as fairly robust scorecard, that gives us leading indicators as to where our business is headed around growth markets like devices and services in the cloud and what our growth penetration is relative to shares.

So we manage across three operating mechanisms for each one of those businesses.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

And so you and I were talking a little bit before this as kind of the question that you would expect. Okay you've seen some management changes in terms of at the CEO level, has that led to any changes in terms of how you look at your business and then we will kind of flip it around and kind of ask your views around from a high level, but any changes in terms of new management in terms of the way that you are running that business?

Judson Althoff

Yeah, sure. So look I guess the right way to start off is to say that look we're really thrilled to have Satya Nadella as our new CEO. We think he brings a tremendous amount of credibility to our company from the commercial and enterprise side, given that his tenure at the company he's really been focused around our server products or cloud products, our applications in the cloud. And we're really excited about everything he brings to bear for our commercial businesses as they've been really the mainstay for growth and profitability for the company.

That stated it's a big company right and to state that we've seen dramatic change in the first 100 days of a new CEO would be frankly be a little lofty. But we're very excited about the direction the company is headed in and we think Satya brings great energy and background from the technology side.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

I think everyone would agree. It would be difficult to see a dramatic change over across such a large organization but I think some investors really want to understand what from the method of running the company, what are some of the differences that you see?

Judson Althoff

Sure, so I think it's important to talk a little bit about our consumer businesses and our enterprise businesses and how one sort of transcends to the other. And Satya has actually spoken pretty openly about this already in his initial days as CEO, that what we want to really create on the consumer side of our business is virally consumable cloud services that sort for transcend into monetizable value in the enterprise.

So you will see us continue to invest in the consumer side of our business but with much more focus on consumption-oriented cloud services that accrue towards commercial value in the enterprise and that sort of kind of create that brand loyalty and customer loyalty and stickiness of the services long run, with a focus again on growing our commercial businesses.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

I think last year there was kind of the branding around the One Microsoft reorganization, is there anything in that context that really changed about how you go to market?

Judson Althoff

Yeah that’s actually a really good topic to spend some time on frankly because I’ve seen dramatic change even in the first year that I’d been here at the company. When I joined Microsoft we had a lot of product silos, yeah, and in fact when I first sat down with Satya's predecessor, Steve and my boss, Kevin Turner, who's our COO. We talk a lot about the sort of strength we had at by product category, but frankly our limitations towards monetizing those with our customers and bringing more customer value. We sort of [gathered] in the fact that we had all of these product silos and really not a huge effort of stringing them together to create a better value.

So the One Microsoft effort frankly is a journey. I’d say we are kind of well started on that journey, may be we are now down to sort of may be like three or four Microsofts instead of 22 Microsofts when I started from a product standpoint. But what it allows us to do is really capitalize on better opportunity in the market place in a differentiated capacity and let me explain what I mean by that.

There are four major growth trends that we see that are really driving the IT industry right now: First of all the explosion of all of the heterogeneous device form factors and manufacturers; second, the here and now of the cloud and the explosion of cloud services; third, the explosion of data. It's been exploding for decades ever since I have been in this industry but we continue to see the hockey stick curve on data as well as how you actually get value out of that data through big data and analytics, and then sort of the social fabric that sort of weaves all of those together.

If you sort of looked at how we went to market even just a year ago we would pursue customers very much along those silos and we would say well let’s try to dream up a big data project together and let’s see figure out how to enable your mobile device strategy. But frankly that actually sort of underpinned our value in each of those categories and actually underrepresented the strength that we bring to bear because our secular competitors in each one of those markets would show up with the next bright shiny object and it sort of minimizes our ability to compete. But when we show up as One Microsoft and we say instead of having a social media project because frankly the world doesn’t need just additional communications channel, we all get enough e-mail and text messages and voice mails to just have a siloed enterprise social project really frankly doesn’t bring a lot of business value to a company.

But when you weave social into a fabric of cloud services such that when someone is a CRM application and they are getting enterprise collaboration out of that application while they are in that work stream you actually do get tangible business value out of that and value that’s returned pretty quickly to the shareholders. That differentiates Microsoft. We are one of the only companies in the industry that has assets across all of those areas. And so by going to get -- to a market as One Microsoft with a solutions approach we have a much more compelling and differentiated value preposition then we ever have had before.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

But when you look across those elements, I completely agree in terms of that integration but there still has to a starting point to the discussion.

Judson Althoff

Sure.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

So where do you see in terms of your customers set within your organization, where is the most frequent starting point on that discussion to then take it through that integrated approach.

Judson Althoff

Yeah it's a good question. I’d say that there is probably not a singular starting point and frankly we actually -- we should try to coach ourselves for us to not have a singular starting point and show up with a canned pitch but rather be much more consultative in our approach to understanding what job it is they are trying to accomplish. It varies quite a bit by industry, in financial services, health care, manufacturing. You have sort of, if you sort of talk about the cloud motion for example, you have a different propensity to want to move to the cloud with different speeds, depending on those markets.

We would love to always help our customers make that journey to the cloud because of the efficiencies that it brings, the new collaboration capabilities that it brings and the return to shareholder value that it brings. But at the same time highly regulated industries don't have the propensity to want to move there just because of all the complications around security and data privacy.

So look it's a consultative approach to a starting point and it typically one of those four pillars will lead to the discussion. It just sort of kind of depends on the industry and the unique customer situation.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

So in terms of the situations that you've seen success in that sales approach just kind of bypass the kind of RFP process meaning you get away from that point to point, feature to feature competition?

Judson Althoff

Yeah, so that's a good point to sort of spend some time on as well. I'll give you a couple of examples. So we're working with a relatively large airline and through the course of their own inquiries and RFPs we sort of started the discussion around the device portfolio and they are like well listen what we want is a set of devices for our flight attendants to be able to do transactions in the cabin. We also want a cockpit, digital pilot book rather than the big briefcases they carry around all the time.

So what was issued to us was actually a device RFP and frankly if we would have just showed up with our bright shiny objects versus everybody else's bright shiny objects we probably would have lost the opportunity. But by actually sitting down with the customer and having a much broader conversation about what are the experiences that you really want the flight attendants to be able to have, what is the customer interaction you want to be able to have, being able to provide connectivity real time to backend systems and applications such that when the flight attendant walks down the aisle and says hi, Mr. Jones thanks for being such a valued customer of ours because of all the miles you have flown today we're going to offer you a complimentary meal upgrade. Those are the type of things that provide stickiness through to our customers' customers and also allow us to provide differentiated value.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

How do you given you've got such a broad product portfolio, how do you balance that type of sales approach versus from a top down, from top management down looking at the different businesses going jeez, we should be seeing more opportunity and more growth out of this area versus that area. How do you balance that?

Judson Althoff

Yeah, like it is a broad portfolio and we're responsible from everything from phones and Xboxes to enterprise software running in the cloud and to try to educate the sales force on how to appropriately position all of those products at the right time for the right customer is a difficult thing.

So the go-to-market approach we have is one of continually readying our generalist sales force to have a broad understanding of the full portfolio while backing them up with subject matter experts around the product areas of specialty so that we go to market with more effective intelligence around the product areas.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

Listen I am all for Xbox in the workplace so if you see my boss wandering around if you could convince him that would be wonderful.

Judson Althoff

We hear that a lot, we want to replace the company Foosball table with the Xbox.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

Exactly, let's actually take a step up to the high level, when we think about IT spending and kind of the cyclical nature of it from my aspect it felt like the U.S. economy kind of stagnated during 2013. What are you hearing from customers in terms of their spending appetite before we kind of get to, kind of what are the things that you see him putting in place, just do you see him more eager to spend and what types of projects, are they little cautious and why?

Judson Althoff

So what's interesting is we're cautiously optimistic about the IT market right now. And but it is a tale of two entirely different markets. On-premise software, the traditional server market and the traditional PC market relatively stagnant, flatted single-digit up and down quarter-by-quarter, cloud market on fire. And that's actually sort of representative of our numbers and our financials. We're actually relatively pleased frankly on how much we're growing in the traditional markets right now because we're growing in a sort of flat to up or down slightly market. We've seen 7% worldwide overall growth in our software in commercial markets.

I would add though that developed countries such as the United States are significantly higher than that. So what that indicates is that we're taking share from our traditional secular competitors, like we've grown 15% in databases year-over-year, our nearest competitor's kind of growing low, low-single digits. So it's indicating we're taking share in those markets. The same could be set for Windows. We're seeing strong growth there indicating that Windows is still the most popular work environment for operating systems.

In the cloud, it's explosive growth triple digit growth. We've doubled our cloud businesses across Office 365, our productivity software in the cloud. We’ve doubled our CRM business and we’ve doubled our Azure business and sort of infrastructure and platform-as-a-services side and on some fairly big numbers. Office 365 is now at a $2.5 billion run rate and so the fundamentals are incredibly healthy but again it is a tale of two very, very different markets.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

But are those markets kind of connected? You think that explosive growth is especially like in cloud et cetera has some pull through effect on some of the others?

Judson Althoff

I do and I think it actually is representative of the Microsoft growth and the health in our own balance sheet because of the fact that when companies are making on-premise investments today they are making them with the future in mind. They are making them with the thought that they may eventually go to the cloud, they may eventually sort of roll out to hybrid environments and support both and so having singular code lines that work in both environments is sort of table stakes for continued investments in the IT market and we're again fairly uniquely differentiated in that regard.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

Let’s talk a little bit about Office 365 and then I want to bring the audience questions in. What is the way that you position this to enterprises, especially those that obviously already have on-premise versions of the Exchange Office et cetera? What’s the value proposition that you present to them?

Judson Althoff

Yeah. So again it kind of depends on the customer situation. We are again trying to get out of the practice of showing up with the canned pitch and more into the process of understanding business value and really anchoring with line of business decision makers around productivity, unified communications in social and the cloud. So when we show up to a traditional on-premise customer, typically it's about functionality what kind of business value are they trying to harvest out of those types of applications with a nudge to the cloud, is the way I would call it because we view the cloud as being the future not just for us but also for our customers long term.

As I stated earlier though instead of kind depending on the industry you run into sort of different propensities to move faster. We feel like we’ve made investments both in the financial services realm and in healthcare sort of the too hard -- healthcare and government financial services are probably the three hardest markets to penetrate in the cloud. We feel like we’ve made substantial investments there to make it easier for those customers to go to the cloud, but still there is hesitancy around data privacy and protection in those markets that keep them from moving forward with the kind of same velocity as you would in traditional commercial markets in the smaller businesses.

So the conversation starts from the anchoring around the business value and the functionality that they get from the applications with the notion of getting greater efficiencies and collaboration in the cloud.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

In terms of the points that you can really spark that discussion, how much of that is coming around contract renewals versus kind of other points that you can begin that discussion?

Judson Althoff

Yeah, so contract renewals certainly provide a moment to have a customer conversation. We try not to have that be the defining moment quite frankly in terms of our customer dialogue. Typically the conversations about getting more value out of your productivity environment come from thinking about that the sort of work environment that our customers have.

You take the device market and what customer are trying to do with tablets and phones and conference room systems and you talk about experiences that tie together the value of being in the cloud by being able to annotate notes in the Board room, take them on a road in the tablet, further annotate among your tablet and have those same notes on your phone and being able to tie those to real business applications running into the cloud; that’s actually what tends to spark the interest in wanting to make the move when you show tangible value versus just hey we are going to do the same thing you’ve always done, only it's going to be in the cloud. That tends not to resonate terribly well with customers. So that’s how the conversation tends to evolve.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

Let me take, we have one question here coming in from online and then I want to take from the audience. The question coming from online says what can really move the bottom line for Microsoft going forward in your new product investments over the near term, meaning over the next one and three years?

Judson Althoff

Yeah, so couple of things. Probably the biggest thing for us this next coming year is going to be on the data side. We have great new product release for SQL Server 2014 that frankly will allow us to have a sort of a no excuses database for the first time in the company’s history. What I mean by that is that we can legitimately go to companies of all sizes and say SQL Server can be the only database you need as a company. We can scale from our standard edition product that has a great value prop on the low end all the way through to premium version of the product and handle the most complicated enterprise workloads.

That coupled with in memory capabilities and Hadoop capabilities provide a really unique value there that will allow us to take share from our competitors at a significant pace this coming year. We've already been kind of on that path for the last couple of years but we see a much more aggressive approach towards doing that next fiscal year again which for us starts in July.

The second thing is the growth in the cloud around enterprise workloads with Azure. We've seen explosive growth with Azure, nearly 200% on average worldwide and that's come across both traditional infrastructure as well as platform-as-a-service. And again we feel like we're fairly uniquely differentiated there because with some great respect for Amazon's early investments and Google sort of entrenchment from the consumer side, we're really one of the only companies that has the ability to provide classic infrastructure as well as first party SaaS applications and third party support for enterprise applications running in the cloud.

You may have taken note of the SAP announcement we made on Monday as well as almost a year ago now an announcement with Oracle, we can legitimately support the world's applications running on Azure. So we expect that to be a huge growth area for us next year. We'll see continued growth in Office 365, again fastest growing product that we've had in the company's history. We expect that to continue but that will be sort of joined with growth on Azure, growth on the datacenter services side, and also strong growth in CRM. We are doubling our CRM business year-over-year. We actually expect that to pick up pace as we had some great new releases of that product line and we're taking share from competitors there as well.

So healthy, healthy cloud businesses.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

All right great. Questions from the audience, yeah.

Question-and-Answer Session

Unidentified Analyst

[Question Inaudible].

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

Exactly for the benefit of the webcast can you help size and frame the opportunity for Office 365 in that SMB and mid-market where they may not be on software assurance or any of it.

Judson Althoff

Yeah it's actually the highest growth market that we see for Office 365. We have tremendous penetration actually on the upper end of the enterprise. Right now more than 50% of our enterprise customers have already moved to Office 365. Actually a higher percentage of the seats in the enterprise have been penetrated on Office 365. So we expect to see good healthy growth there but the explosive growth that we're expecting is to come from the SMB and it's basically due to the penetration that we see right now which is relatively low, which was kind of a surprise to us frankly.

You would think that small and medium businesses would have a faster propensity to want to move to the cloud but what we found is this is sort of a basic customer's that was on a very traditional Windows XP platform that have sort of recently migrated and upgraded, and now the opportunity to kind of go back and position Office 365 through syndication and through volume partners, like the partnership we announced earlier this year with GoDaddy gives us huge upside and opportunity.

We have somewhere around 4 million users today but that's the way we view it somewhere around 7% or 8% of the addressable market right now. So a lot of upside that we expect to gain this year through syndication partners.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

Question here.

Unidentified Analyst

[Question Inaudible].

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

So the question is can you kind of compare or contrast or tell what are foregoing in terms of the cloud deployment versus non-premise in certain situations exchange et cetera.

Judson Althoff

Yeah, predominantly it's datacenter investments, everything from servers and storage to the folks that sort of manage that on a continual basis and manage the upgrade cycles. You get much faster time to market on more current releases. You have much less infrastructure to manage and you are far more nimble going to the next grade features that come out with the product.

Unidentified Analyst

[Question Inaudible].

Judson Althoff

What are we foregoing? Very little if anything, very little if anything. I mean we have some higher COGS associated with managing the datacenter infrastructure that our customers no longer manage but from a licensing standpoint and conversion over to the subscriptions that we manage with Office 365 it's fairly even.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

Unidentified Analyst

[Question Inaudible].

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

Can you elaborate on kind of the idea of developing personal clouds that would help the enterprise cloud opportunity?

Judson Althoff

Yeah…

Unidentified Analyst

[Question Inaudible].

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

And how does Nokia kind of advance that opportunity?

Judson Althoff

Sure. May be we’ll start with Nokia and then get into the sort of what we are calling a snackable more virally consumable consumer apps. So Nokia, like we bought Nokia really for three main reasons. First of all it gives us fantastically prog and hardware design that would have otherwise taken us much longer to get through organically. Secondly, much greater supply chain capability and distribution capability. Nokia has got capability of delivering relatively low cost products to all corners of the earth on a very profitable basis that again would have taken Microsoft years to get to at an organic pace.

The third thing which really sort of I think gets to the anchor point of your question is it gives us the ability through being able to provide first party hardware on all form factors from the phone to the tablet to the large conference room systems and everything in between. It gives us the ability to actually design software for all of those form factors to create a better user experience, whether that user be a consumer or a commercial based customer.

And that experience is what we are really after quite frankly whether it's on our first party hardware or third party OEM hardware or frankly even a competitor's platform. What we are trying to do is create services that are sticky, that start from the consumer level, that are largely freemium at that consumer level if you think at services like One Note and One Drive and Skype we are investing in creating better affinity circles around those snackable applications such that they accrue towards better commercial value.

In other words if folks grow up understanding and using the power of our Stylus and inking through One Note and then connectivity and syncing through One Drive in the cloud all tied together with a conferencing system in Skype that allows instantaneous meetings and discussions, that’s an experience that they grow up with in the education environments and the consumer environments that they come to expect in the enterprise. So that’s a bit of how we see those services flowing and transcending and accruing into commercial value.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

May be a follow on to that one of the questions we just got here on line I think hits it, which is what's been the experience so far in terms of Office for the iPad? Is there as you think about that tablet form factor is there an opportunity? What do you think about the expansion into other outside of iOS, meaning Android et cetera? And do you get a sense when you look across all the different tablets that are out there what percentage of them actually have the horse power to run in Office Suite.

Judson Althoff

So a very good question because actually the end part of it has actually been one of the big limiters on when and how and where we would deploy Office on a tablet. Yeah, we’ve seen just fantastic response on Office for the iPad. It's been highly regarded as the best app ever made for the iPad. Customers love it, both on the consumer side as well as the commercial side. It's actually helping to drive consumption of Office 365 for our enterprise customers because of the way we license Office 365 basically allows you to have multiple devices on a singular license and so customers are actually getting more value and consuming down the cloud services that we’ve sold to them by being able to both run on a tablet form factor and a PC laptop form factor. So tremendous success there.

I can’t really comment right now publically about where we might be headed in terms of supporting other platforms other than to say that again our strategy is to provide more virally consumable services that then accrue to enterprise value and we look at it mostly from a share of eye balls play, in other words in the devices that have greater share of human beings eyeballs will be the ones that we try to target overtime with our services.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

Other questions? Yes.

Unidentified Analyst

[Question Inaudible].

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

What’s the growth rate been like over the last couple of years in SQL Server business and kind of what kind of trajectory do you see?

Judson Althoff

So it has been a steady increase in growth rate over the last couple of years. SQL for several years now has had the sort of unit share superiority versus Oracle and IBM. However last year we saw for the first time ever in addition to unit share actually revenue share gains because of the value customers are getting out of the product, in the sort of 15% realm in terms of growth which is pretty fantastic when you consider the growth rate of the overall database market now being sort of mid-single digits.

So indicating pretty fantastic share growth. With the release of SQL 2014 the product we just announced about a month ago we actually see even further gains beyond the growth rates we've seen. We see the ability to actually take share at a much higher rate because of the enterprise workloads that we can support that previously could only be run on either IBM or Oracle's database and UNIX environments we believe we can migrate to SQL 2014 and all but really effectively mainframe workloads we can run on SQL 2014.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

Question here.

Judson Althoff

So I think we've announced that there will be an announcement in a couple of hours actually. So yes you will hear later today that we're going to be announcing the next generation Surface product.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

Other questions?

One of the questions that I had is as you look at the opportunity; you mentioned kind of mobility et cetera especially now that you've got Office available on other form factors. Do you already have the infrastructure in place so as I think about working remotely, so I am here at the conference I have all my models and excel back on a shared drive, is the infrastructure there in place where instead of a VPN or some other that I can come through the cloud, sync to have that syncing capability back and forth and do it in a way that a regulated industry like financial services or healthcare actually require?

Judson Althoff

That's a really good question. In fact I live that a bit every day. It's -- even on the trip out here you kind of start to expect things as services being consistently available, things like Wi-Fi on airplanes versus like three years ago, it was sort of hit or miss. Now when you get on an airplane and there is no Wi-Fi you get mad, like that was my experience yesterday. I was trapped on a tin can for 5.5 hours with no access.

But the good news is based on the environment this is the only computer I haul around. It's my Surface because, it is full-functioning lop top, it is a tablet, I could use it as pen form factor tablet or I can use it as a laptop replacement. And everything that I do syncs automatically to the cloud. So I've local copies that the instant I have any kind of connectivity they stream backup and resynchronize and it's all done through fairly intense security algorithms as well given my level within the company.

So yes we've tested that out through financial services, regulatory concerns as well as healthcare regulatory concerns in the cloud that we manage to secure for those purposes.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

Okay. And then just last question, that's coming from online with the different products I guess when you think about innovation and driving kind of that cool factor where do you think in terms of the product portfolio where it's headed?

Judson Althoff

Yeah we're thrilled with where we're headed and we're thrilled with our position in terms of intellectual property in this market right now. We feel like we've got a fantastic collection of assets and we're not resting on our laurels, we put nearly $10 billion of R&D into the portfolio on an annual basis.

So we see growth very much in the same areas that I articulated in these sort of consumable viral freemium applications on the consumer side and tons of growth in really three areas in the commercial side; one on sort of the front end of productivity, from productivity through enterprise social and unified communications and CRM.

We see huge growth in platform-as-a-service through what we recognized in Azure and then huge growth on that data side with SQL 2014, so and Power BI and the analytics capabilities that we provide out to the common user every day. So the good news is we see great growth in just about every major aspect of the portfolio right now.

Sterling Auty - JPMorgan

Fantastic Judson, thank you so much for joining us today.

Judson Althoff

Thanks a lot, Sterling, thank you everybody.

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