March 26, 2003
This session was a presentation of Microsoft’s retail vision, as well as a tour of one of Microsoft’s Technology Centers in Mountain View.
Microsoft is positioning itself in the retail systems market, the activity is headquartered in Charlotte with representation in Europe. $1b business in retail and hospitality industry. The focus in the industry is on differentiation – WalMart eats everyone up – in California they will have 40 hypermalls by 2008. Retail model is changing from a mall model more towards superstores and online reatiling.
Microsoft’s offerings in this area, which contained many acronyms nicely displayed on blue boxes, were divided into three main categories: Smarter shopping, tools to enhance the in-store shopping experience. Smarter selling, tools to create sharper sales people, and Smarter operations. Microsoft is active in supporting a number of standards and tries to position their service tools, Biztalk, and various terminals together to offer a complete and fairly open solution. The competition from Open Source software was apparent – the speaker was keen to stress that Microsoft would work with anyone and anything in the retail area.
The Microsoft Technology Center was primarily used for three things: Scenario-based demonstrations for non-technical audiences of what Microsoft systems could do (in a showroom tableau’ing a company with a San Francisco and Hong Kong office); Small design rooms for scoping out and designing applications, and Proof-of-Concept application development projects. This was run on a number of different server and storage platforms, including Intel Itanium 64-bit processors.
March 26, 2003