Ballmer repeatedly stressed that one of Microsoft's unique advantages is that it works with both on-premise software and cloud services. He noted that technologies from competitors such as Oracle and VMware "[have] merit, but what we think what customers want to do is match between the public and private clouds," he said.
This year's WPC is pivotal for the company. Microsoft is under a lot of pressure to produce an operating system that manufacturers could use to compete with Apple's iPad. Attendees, consisting mostly of Microsoft partner businesses, will also be eager to hear of news this week about Microsoft's Azure cloud service offering. More than 12,000 participants are attending this year's WPC.