President of Microsoft business division speaks at UW

Stephen Elop, president of Microsoft’s business division, welcomed all students to join his technology presentation on Oct. 22 at the University of Waterloo’s (UW) Humanities Theatre.
Elop stated, “The primary reason I joined [Microsoft] is because of the opportunity to have an impact during a disruptive time.”

The first topic on his agenda addressed four aspects that drive change in the technology world: shifting demographics, new technology architecture, changing competitive landscape and an evolving economy.

“Microsoft has been a very successful company for a many years, and as a result we are a popular target for just about everyone,” Elop stated. Microsoft’s competitors include Google, Open Office, Cisco and IBM.

“If I were doing this presentation a year ago, that [evolving economy] element wouldn’t be on there….Now you are all very aware of the economic reset … it has had an impact on everyone,” he said.

Elop added that there is a pattern of major economic reset around every third generation, “Your generation, my children in terms of age, has seen what is possible when bad things happen, so you will learn from that, so you will likely not repeat the mistakes of your parents essentially.”

Elop believes that our children, the third generation, will make the mistakes of our parents, and drive the next economic downturn, because they will not directly see the consequences of the current crisis.

Elop also highlighted the reason why Microsoft holds research and development as such a high priority, putting in over $9 billion in research in development last year, which greatly surpassed its competitors.

“We try and generate ideas, and also we try and generate failures as well, because we all have great ideas, but until we actually put it in front of the customer, who knows if it’s actually going to matter?” said Elop.

Elop strongly encourages the use of, Microsoft’s search engine, stating that “ is actually a better [searching] experience.”

He next commented about “A Glimpse Ahead”, a video based on real research and development that Microsoft and it’s partners are working on. The video features new ideas on devices, such as paper screens, and a touch screen on the back of a device.

The video communicated three primary themes: expression, connections, and insight. Elop emphasized on how these upcoming devices will shape the world, and increase productivity.

“We believe that fundamentally, technology can do so much more to help you gain [contextual relevance and] insight from information that is exists out there in the world,” said Elop.