As GDPR hit its first anniversary on Saturday, Microsoft once again called for a US privacy law which shifts the onus of data privacy from the individual to corporations. Today, Americans operate in an opt-out regime which requires them to find and manage their privacy settings.
places an unreasonable — and unworkable — burden on individuals,” wrote
Microsoft’s Deputy General Counsel Julie Brill. “Strong federal
privacy should not only empower consumers to control their data, it also should
place accountability obligations on the companies that collect and use
sensitive personal information.”
Microsoft prefers a single federal standard to piecemeal state-level laws such as California’s CCPA. Brill said the legislation should be interoperable with the GDPR to help reduce the “cost and complexity of compliance.” This framework should reflect ”the changing understanding of the right to privacy in the United States and around the world.” The proposed legislation should “uphold the fundamental right to privacy through rules that give people control over their data and require greater accountability and transparency in how companies use the personal information they collect.”
American businesses, interoperability between U.S. law and GDPR will reduce the
cost and complexity of compliance by ensuring that companies don’t have to
build separate systems to meet differing—and even conflicting requirements—for
privacy protection in the countries where they do business,” said Brill.
eMarketer analyst Ross Benes, the US ad industry has shifted from a call for
self-regulation to supporting national privacy regulations, fearing ”a
patchwork of different rules” as “legislation looks increasingly inevitable.”
A TrustArc/Ipsos survey of UK adults (16 – 75) found a 36% improvement in trust concerning personal data since GDPR went into effect.
A Snow study found that 39% of global business professionals believe their data is better protected since GDPR passed, with the biggest increase in the APAC region (48%). 40% of Europeans also believed their personally identifiable information is more secure, but only 30% in the US held the same belief.
74% of surveyed professionals believe that the technology industry needs more regulation with 83% of APAC and 72% of US respondents wanting additional tech regulation.
The EU has yet to strictly enforce the law with only one large fine ($56M) versus Google in France. However, Google and the social media and advertising companies are all subject to ongoing suits:
The latest investigation — the first by the Irish watchdog into Google — brings to 19 the number of open cases by the regulator targeting big U.S. tech companies. They include probes into Apple Inc., Twitter Inc., eight probes into Facebook Inc., plus one into Instagram and two into WhatsApp.
Los Angeles Times, “Google could face hefty EU fine over possible privacy violations,” May 22, 2019
important to recognize is that the EU is taking GDPR very seriously, with fines
being established for any breach,” said Ben Feldman, SVP of strategy and
innovation at NYIAX. “I would expect that the first six-to-nine months of
any new regulation action would be spent working out the kinks and processes of
implementation. It is quite likely that we will see more fines in the
Oracle recently acquired DataFox, providing them with access to 2.8 million company profiles, including funding and M&A data. DataFox “gives customers real-time insight to know when a business exhibits noteworthy behaviors.”
“The combination of Oracle and DataFox will enhance Oracle Cloud Applications with an extensive set of trusted company-level data and signals, enabling customers to reach even better decisions and business outcomes,” wrote Oracle’s EVP of Applications Development Steve Miranda to customers and partners.
Oracle provides the following deal shorthand:
Oracle Cloud Applications + DataFox = Even Smarter Decisions
DataFox is growing its database at 1.2 million companies annually. The database will deliver real-time insights into its cloud-based ERP, CX, HCM and SCM platforms.
In a bit of extreme puffery, Oracle described DataFox as the “the most current, precise and expansive set of company-level information and insightful data.” Bureau van Dijk and Dun & Bradstreet have 50X the active company coverage including detailed global linkage, risk models, and multi-year financial data. Bureau van Dijk also offers the Zephyr database, an M&A and funding dataset with over twenty years of closed, pending, and rumored deals. Where DataFox may have an advantage is in their focus on mid-size and emerging companies which have been recently funded, but this is a small subset of the company universe.
DataFox will continue to sell and support its products. However, the DataFox roadmap and product line are fluid:
“Oracle is currently reviewing the existing DataFox product roadmap and will be providing guidance to customers in accordance with Oracle’s standard product communication policies. Any resulting features and timing of release of such features as determined by Oracle’s review of DataFox’s product roadmap are at the sole discretion of Oracle. All product roadmap information, whether communicated by DataFox or by Oracle, does not represent a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract.”
Along with AI insights, Oracle called out the needs for quality data to back data maintenance, artificial intelligence, and business signals.
DataFox has over 275 customers including Goldman Sachs, Bain & Company, Outreach, Live Ramp, and Twilio.
DataFox raised $19 million in funding. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. In January 2017, DataFox was valued at $33 million by Pitchbook.
Oracle should study Salesforce’s acquisition of Jigsaw (later renamed Data.com) as a cautionary tale. Software companies struggle in selling data files as company and contact data decays rapidly and it is difficult to push data quality above 90% absent large editorial investments. Furthermore, Jigsaw never represented more than 1% of Salesforce revenue so quickly fell off of the company’s internal radar. The firm is now looking to decommission Data.com and asking its AppExchange partners to fill the sales intelligence and data hygiene gap left in its absence. Coincidentally, DataFox is one of Salesforce’s Lightning Data partners.
On the positive side, LinkedIn hit $1.3 billion last quarter and has thrived under Microsoft’s ownership. However, LinkedIn was a much more mature company at acquisition than DataFox with multiple revenue streams and a unique user generated content model. Microsoft has provided LinkedIn with development capital and allowed it to maintain its independence. It has also looked to leverage LinkedIn and Microsoft strengths when building sales and marketing products, instead of simply copying other vendors. For example, Sales Navigator continues to respect the privacy of its members while using aggregated data to provide hiring and employment insights that other companies cannot deliver. Navigator has also added strong messaging tools (chat, InMail, and PointDrive) which work around its lack of company emails. Other innovations include SNAP workflow connectors, its new Pipeline CRM updating tool, and Buyer’s Circle for identifying the buying committee at large firms.
LinkedIn continues to grow its global membership base at an impressive clip. The firm reached 500 million members sixteen months ago and has added nearly 15 million members per quarter since then, recently reaching 575 million.
North America continues as their most important market with over 150 million members in the United States, 15 million in Canada, and 12M in Mexico.
AsiaPac is also growing strongly with India recently hitting the 50 million member mark and China poised to soon pass the mark (42 million members). China was slower to develop but has grown rapidly since a localized version was launched a few years ago.
In Europe, there are at least 14 countries with one million members or greater. The United Kingdom is the third largest anglophone market with 25 million members. France (16M), Italy (12M), Spain (10M), and Benelux (10M) all represent strong markets.
LinkedIn is relatively underrepresented in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) as it continues to compete against German language professional network XING.
Other Anglophone markets include Australia (9M), South Africa (6M) The Philippines (6M), Nigeria (3M), Singapore (2M), Hong Kong (1M), New Zealand (1M), and Kenya (1M).
LinkedIn has also enjoyed success in Latin America with Brazil long being a significant market (34M). The firm also has a significant presence in Colombia (6M), Argentina (6M), and Chile (4M).
LinkedIn was barred from Russia several years ago.
Monthly active user figures are estimated at around 25% of members.
Membership, segment, and usage statistics for LinkedIn are less available since the firm was acquired by Microsoft in December 2016. Revenue, however, continues to accelerate, growing 37% to $1.464 billion in Q4 2018. Q4 marked the fifth-straight quarter of revenue acceleration.
“This strong engagement is driven by quality of the feed, video, messaging and acceleration of mobile usage, with mobile sessions up more than 55% year-over-year,” said Satya Nadella last month. “We will continue to invest to make LinkedIn the essential platform to connect the world’s professionals and help them achieve more with experiences powered by LinkedIn and Microsoft graphs.”
“We have united the world’s leading professional cloud with the world’s leading professional network and proved that we have an integration model that works, enabling LinkedIn to accelerate growth while retaining its member-first ethos,” continued Nadella.
LinkedIn is now the number two social media platform by usage, advertising spend, ROI and analytics tools. Facebook remains number one. “While LinkedIn is often considered a hub for job hunters and corporate recruiters, the platform has also shifted to position itself as a marketing engine in recent years,” said Jerry Ascierto, executive editor of The Social Shake-Up Show. “The recent updates to its ad platform and UI seem to be encouraging brands to increase spend. As a result, more companies are experiencing better ROI from this network than others considered more popular and ‘fun,’ such as Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.”
LinkedIn has benefited from a native video feature that was launched last year and was recently extended to company pages.
LinkedIn’s last official member count was 546 million global professional profiles.
Microsoft Chairman John Thompson said that the LinkedIn acquisition has been “wildly successful” and that Microsoft would be “all in” on a similar deal. Of particular interest are firms that would help connect users to the Microsoft cloud.
Thomson was critical of firms that share or sell user data. “Many of them make money off ads and they have used that as kind of a leverage point,” Thomson told Bloomberg. “At Microsoft, we don’t believe in that.”
While Facebook has taken a series of hits on its sharing of member data, LinkedIn has long protected member data (for example, Sales Navigator does not permit the uploading of member information to CRMs but makes it available for display). What’s more, Microsoft has built GDPR compliance into its product line and set it as a global standard.
LinkedIn celebrated its 15th anniversary last month. “15 years ago, we launched LinkedIn in Reid Hoffman’s living room with the tagline ‘relationships matter’,” said VP of Product Strategy Allen Blue. “I’m proud to say that this mantra still rings true today in both the halls of LinkedIn and on the platform. While the world of work has evolved immensely — be it the tools and products we use, the ways we communicate, and even the jobs themselves — our need to connect with one another to be productive in our careers remains at the core of all we do.”
A few weeks ago, I wrote about enterprise software vendors calling for an American version of GDPR with Microsoft announcing that it was building GDPR into its global product line as its standard privacy protocol.
On the Salesforce earnings call last week, CEO Marc Benioff observed that the software industry has been going through a “crisis of trust for the past six months” related to privacy and data ownership:
“From the European perspective the way they look at data is data belongs to you, it’s your data. Now for us at Salesforce, we understand that. We’ve had that position from the beginning. Our customers’ data belongs to them, it’s their data. I think in some cases, the companies that are start-ups and next generation technologies here in San Francisco, they think that data is theirs. I think the Europeans with GDPR have really flipped the coin, especially in advertising but in another areas saying hey, this data belongs to the consumer or to the customers, you guys have to pivot back to the consumer, you have to pivot back to the customer.”
Benioff once again called for a US privacy law similar to GDPR which provides “guardrails” around trust and safety. “This is going to help our industry,” said Benioff. ”It’s going to provide the ability for the customers to interact with great next generation technologies in a safe way.”
Benioff also warned that when AI technologies are indistinguishable from humans, trust will also be an issue.
It is less than 36 hours until GDPR becomes the law of the land in the EU Zone. As the regulation has extra-territorial privacy requirements, non EU companies, even those without a physical presence in the EU, are subject to its requirements with respect to communications with EU citizens and management of their data.
The US has a much weaker set of laws and there is concern that US firms are laggards with respect to compliance. However, a number of US technology firms have called for adoption of a US GDPR.
On Monday, Microsoft once again reiterated its belief that “privacy is a fundamental human right” and announced that GDPR will be their privacy standard globally.
“As people live more of their lives online and depend more on technology to operate their businesses, engage with friends and family, pursue opportunities, and manage their health and finances, the protection of this right is becoming more important than ever.”
Julie Brill, Microsoft Corporate VP & Deputy General Counsel
Companies, therefore, have a “huge responsibility” to protect and safeguard personal data.
Since GDPR was enacted in 2016, Microsoft has dedicated 1,600 engineers towards compliance. “GDPR compliance is deeply ingrained in the culture at Microsoft and embedded in the processes and practices that are at the heart of how we build and deliver products and services,” said Brill.
She noted, however, that GDPR is a “complex regulatory framework” subject to “ongoing interpretation” by regulators and feedback from customers. As such, the firm will “determine the steps that we all will need to take to maintain compliance.”
As a provider of corporate infrastructure, Microsoft views GDPR as an opportunity to differentiate itself and assist its customers with compliance on the Microsoft Cloud. “One of our most important goals is to help businesses become trusted stewards of their customers’ data,” said Brill. “This is why we offer a robust set of tools and services for GDPR compliance that are backed up by contractual commitments. For most companies, it will simply be more efficient and less expensive to host their data in the Microsoft Cloud where we can help them protect their customers’ data and maintain GDPR compliance.”
Salesforce and SugarCRM have also taken a strong position on GDPR calling for similar legislation in the US. “What we need is a national privacy law, and that will really not just protect the tech industry; it’s going to protect all the consumers,” said Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
This is not a new position for Salesforce. Back in 2014, Benioff said, “I’m all in favor of consumers having more power and more control over their data. As a consumer, you should have all of the rights. It’s like a cloud Bill of Rights. As a consumer or as an enterprise, you should have the right to be forgotten or to add or take away your data.”
As part of its compliance, the firm named their Senior VP of Global Privacy and Product Legal Lindsey Finch as their new Data Protection Officer. Finch has been with Salesforce for a decade with previous stints at GE (Privacy Counsel), the Federal Trade Commission, and Homeland Security.
“The official DPO designation is a natural outgrowth of our existing programme. My team and I will continue to partner across the company to foster a culture of privacy – designing, implementing, and ensuring compliance with our global privacy programme, including ensuring that privacy is considered throughout the product development lifecycle,” said Finch. “The top theme I’m hearing is that our customers are using the GDPR as an opportunity to focus on their privacy practices and putting their customers—oftentimes end-consumers—at the center of their businesses. The GDPR is a complex law, but putting the individuals to whom the personal data relates at the forefront, and focusing on their expectations and preferences, is a great starting point for compliance with the GDPR and other privacy laws.”
Finch described Salesforce’s approach to GDPR compliance:
“We started by kicking off a thorough review to ensure compliance across the company. The GDPR is an incredibly rich document—99 articles and 173 recitals across 88 pages! Our Privacy team broke this down into key principles and worked closely with our Technology & Products organization to review our compliance. We found that we were already in a really great place,
Since then, a lot of the work we’ve been doing has been to document how our customers can use our services to comply with some of the key GDPR principles, which we’ve published on our GDPR website. There is no finish line when it comes to GDPR compliance. While Salesforce currently offers the tools for our customers to comply with the GDPR, we will continue to release new innovations that help our customers achieve compliance success.”
Salesforce CMO Simon Mulcahy echoed Benioff and Finch at the Salesforce World Tour event in London last week. Mulcahy stated that many companies simply view GDPR as a compliance issue and nuisance, not an opportunity to align company interests with customer desires. “It is a compliance issue, but it’s also a phenomenal opportunity to give your customers what they want. What they want is to know that when they give you their data, you’re looking after it appropriately.”
“Benioff is right that we will need some regulation and I can’t see how we can set two standards–EU and US–so we’ll likely need to adopt what the EU has done or risk chaos. This also fits well into the narrative of the information utility. GDPR is another driver sending us toward utility formation for the information industry.”
Dennis Pombriant, Principal Beagle Research
Larry Augustin, CEO of SugarCRM noted that firms have been lax in their privacy and cyber security processes saying that self-regulation has proven to be insufficient with “too many incidents.”
“Data privacy issues are not going to go away. People are thinking a lot here now about GDPR, because Facebook, Twitter, and all of these issues keep coming. And Experian in the US, about managing personal information related to credit card data… there’s just a constant barrage of issues around data privacy and personal information,” continued Augustin. “Everyone has to address it, whether it’s in the context of GDPR or the next thing that’s going to come along. There is definitely a heightened awareness and interest.”
SugarCRM has built a data privacy manager into its CRM as a “command center” for the data privacy officer.
In my discussions with clients. they all admit to the regulations being a muddle that initially adds risk to their business models. The penalties are draconian, but the compliance requirements are ambiguous, particularly for B2B firms. As such, we are likely to be hearing about issues concerning GDPR compliance requirements over the next few years.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella digressed from standard earnings call topics two weeks ago to discuss the importance of ethics, privacy, and cybersecurity. While he did not provide a specific reason for the digression, the Facebook hearings and impending GDPR implementation were likely motivators.
Nadella noted that the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge are “tremendous opportunities” for Microsoft customers, but that it is critical that both Microsoft and its customers “ensure trust in technology” across three dimensions: privacy, cybersecurity, and ethics. Nadella argued that “privacy is a fundamental human right” and that the firm has implemented an “end-to-end privacy architecture” which is GDPR compliant.
“For customers, we will provide robust tools backed by our contractual commitments to help them comply with GDPR,” said Nadella. “In fact, for most customers it will be more effective and less costly to host their data in Microsoft’s GDPR-compliant cloud than to develop and maintain GDPR compliance tools themselves.”
With respect to cybersecurity, the company spearheaded a coalition of 34 global tech and security companies for the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, “an important first step by the industry to help create a safer and more secure online environment for everyone.”
Nadella also announced the establishment of an AI and Ethics in Engineering and Research Committee at Microsoft “to ensure we always advance AI in an ethical and responsible way to benefit our customers and the broader society. This includes new investments in technology to detect and address bias in AI systems. Microsoft stands for trust, and this will continue to be a differentiating focus for us moving forward.”
Up until recently, information technology and social media have been viewed as social goods with few drawbacks, but now that we are all tied into the social communications fabric, we are beginning to worry about the dark side of such connectivity whether it be job losses through automation, the stripping away of privacy, the vulnerability of our networks to hacks, or the undermining of objective truth and democratic systems.
One step towards addressing these problems is the GDPR Chief Privacy Officer requirement with its focus on privacy and cybersecurity. At most companies, this role is likely to be one of compliance, not ethics or broader social questions. At a few, however, this role may grow beyond mere compliance and begin to address the broader social and economic issues posed by information technology.
On December 9th, Microsoft announced closure of its $26.2 billion LinkedIn acquisition following EU approval. The full approval process took just about six months. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is “even more enthusiastic” about the transaction than he was in June.
Nadella listed the following “immediate term” integration scenarios:
LinkedIn identity and network in Microsoft Outlook and the Office suite
LinkedIn notifications within the Windows action center
Enabling members drafting résumés in Word to update their profiles, and discover and apply to jobs on LinkedIn
Extending the reach of Sponsored Content across Microsoft properties
Enterprise LinkedIn Lookup powered by Active Directory and Office 365
LinkedIn Learning available across the Office 365 and Windows ecosystem
Developing a business news desk across our content ecosystem and MSN.com
Redefining social selling through the combination of Sales Navigator and Dynamics 365
The emphasis on expanded opportunities for individuals to learn, compete, network, collaborate, and find jobs was a key justification of the merger. “While technology tools are not a panacea for current economic challenges, we believe they can make an important contribution,” said Microsoft’s Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith. “Microsoft and LinkedIn together have a bigger opportunity to help people online to develop and earn credentials for new skills, identify and pursue new jobs, and become more creative and productive as they work with their colleagues. Working together we can do more to serve not only those with college degrees, but the many people pursuing new experiences, skills and credentials related to vocational training and so-called middle skills. Our ambition is to do our part to create more opportunity for people who haven’t shared in recent economic growth.”
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner views the transaction as an opportunity to expand LinkedIn’s Economic Graph “and ultimately help create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.” LinkedIn will operate as an independent division with “the same mission and vision, the same culture and values, the same brand, and the same leadership team.”
Weiner reiterated LinkedIn’s commitment to its members, their privacy, and information security. The firm “remains focused on growing LinkedIn and creating value for our members and customers with a focus on integrating LinkedIn products with Microsoft.
The EU placed a few requirements on the deal, but did not view the transaction as anti-competitive, a position held by Salesforce.com. The EU evaluated the impact on professional social networks, CRM solutions, and API access. As an accommodation, Microsoft committed to a five year period in which it will
Ensure that PC manufacturers and distributors would be free not to install LinkedIn on Windows and allowing users to remove LinkedIn from Windows should PC manufacturers and distributors decide to preinstall it.
Allow competing professional social network service providers to maintain current levels of interoperability with Microsoft’s Office suite of products through the so-called Office add-in program and Office application programming interfaces.
Grant competing professional social network service providers access to “Microsoft Graph”, a gateway for software developers. It is used to build applications and services that can, subject to user consent, access data stored in the Microsoft cloud, such as contact information, calendar information, emails, etc. Software developers can potentially use this data to drive subscribers and usage to their professional social networks.
Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy, said: “A growing number of Europeans subscribe to professional social networks. These networks are important for professionals to connect and interact and to find new career opportunities. Today’s decision ensures that Europeans will continue to enjoy a freedom of choice between professional social networks.”
LinkedIn has 467 million global members and supports two dozen languages. The firm continues to add members at the rate of two per second. Last quarter, LinkedIn earned $960 million across three divisions: Talent Solutions ($623 million), Marketing Solutions ($175 million), and Premium Subscriptions ($162 million).
LinkedIn rolled out a new Conversation Starter feature to promote system messaging via a lightbulb icon. The feature analyzes the target individual’s profile to provide a series of conversational options. After selecting a potential opener, the user can modify the text to their voice. Starters include recent profile updates, work anniversaries, recent posts, mutual connections, and shared backgrounds (e.g. alma mater, former employers, groups).
“We know that reaching out to reconnect, ask for advice or network for potential job opportunities can be intimidating, so we’ve added personalized conversation starters in LinkedIn messaging to give members authentic ways to break the ice,” the company said in a blog post.
Unfortunately, the Conversation Starters on their marketing video are mostly focused on connections. This could result in a spate of similar sounding openers that could quickly become SPAM. This focus could be simply a marketing oversight, but variations on “Hi Suzi, I noticed you have X connections at Google. Have you heard…” seem like a weak set of Conversation Starters. While better than cold messages such as “Hi Suzi, I’m reaching out to you because my company…”, their sample seems uninspired. Furthermore, the Conversation Starters do not contain any stored messages from the sales rep to expedite the message creation process.
LinkedIn will soon be rolling out a bot to assist with multi-party meeting scheduling.
Decommissioning Professional Edition Features
According to Intero Advisory, a LinkedIn coaching service, LinkedIn is looking to migrate sales clients from their Professional edition to Sales Navigator. As part of this effort, LinkedIn is dropping two features from the Pro service: 1) Premium Search Filters and 2) Notes and Tags for connections. LinkedIn said these features will be available through the end of March. Users have until then to download any Notes and Tags. To help accommodate users, LinkedIn is offering a free three-month trial of Sales Navigator which includes the transfer of Notes and Tags.
LinkedIn continues the build out of its Economic Graph with the launch of LinkedIn Salary. The new tool provides salary data alongside other elements of the Economic Graph including jobs, employees, organizations, skills, and educational institutions.
“This includes salary, bonus, and equity data for specific job titles, and the different factors that impact pay such as years of experience, industry, company size, location, and education level — all of which becomes critical knowledge as you navigate your career,” LinkedIn wrote. “Also, rest assured that when you enter your salary, it’s immediately encrypted and remains private.”
The service provides a set of salary analytics related to job, experience, industry, and location. The user begins by specifying the position and location. They can then quickly filter by industry and experience. Both median salary and median compensation are immediately displayed along with a compensation histogram. Other details include annual bonus, commission, restricted stock units, and stock options. Other salary analytics include base salaries by company size, industry, education level, field of study, and top locations.
Another valuable tool is compensation data by position for key employers in a metro area.
The service is currently available in the US, UK, and Canada with plans to expand globally in 2017. To obtain full salary details, users must provide their salary details or have a LinkedIn Premium subscription.
Other vendors providing similar data include Glassdoor and Salary.com.
Other recent LinkedIn developments in the news:
LinkedIn anticipates that the Microsoft acquisition will close by the end of 2016. They are awaiting approval from the European authorities and then should be ready to complete the $26.2 billion transaction.
LinkedIn was blocked in Russia last week after they failed to comply with Russian rules concerning the housing of data related to Russian citizens. The service has six million Russian members. The block goes back to a 2014 law which was enacted after social media-fueled protests against the Putin regime.
Note: The link to the Glassdoor salary site was added on December 1st.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was interviewed by Bloomberg on the topics of cloud computing, Azure, the LinkedIn acquisition, culture change at Microsoft, and the globalization of technology.
Here is a subset of what he said about tech changes:
Is the cloud the big technological change that we’re going to see over the next five years?
I think the big move that is happening today for sure is the cloud move and the mobile move. They sort of go together. And when I say mobility, it’s not the mobility of one device, it’s the mobility of the applications and the data across all your devices, because it’s about the ability of the human experience, not the device.
But I see three other broad platform shifts. One is what I’ve called conversations as a platform. If we can teach all our computers human language, can we democratize computers even more so than we have done today? Think about it. The model today of, “Well, I’ve got to learn the shell, learn to download 20 apps, and navigate between these apps to get stuff done”—what if none of that was a cognitive load on me, but I was able to simply talk, text, or voice and get my things done?
That’s a much more natural way for computing to surface. It’ll work for an 85-year-old person in China, and it’ll work for a 5-year-old in Bellevue [Wash.]. That, to me, is the next frontier and what we’re doing with [voice-enabled personal assistant] Cortana, what we are doing with our bots.
I’m also very, very bullish about making AI capability or machine learning capability available to every developer, every application, and letting any company use these core cognitive capabilities to add intelligence into their core operations. So that’s something that we’re doing with Azure and our Azure cognitive services.
The third one that I’m also very excited about is what’s happening with mixed reality.