The era of innovation is just beginning. So declared Steve Fox, director of Microsoft services, in his keynote address here at SPTechCon. And one of the drivers of this innovation will be cloud.

“It’s the idea of compete: A two-man shop can be up and running quickly, with the same enterprise capabilities of larger companies,” he said, making the point that the availability of Big Data, continuity and all kinds of applications that would be out of the reach of a small company are now to be made available in the cloud, at a fraction of the cost it would require to purchase applications and the infrastructure to run them on.

There are two things at work behind this. First, the cloud gives Microsoft entry to the billions of devices around the world that require software to do things. Secondly, it gives Microsoft a much lower-cost entry point to engage with small- and medium-sized businesses.

Fox also noted a change at Microsoft, the likes of which he hasn’t seen before. “We have Linux, we have the broader Web standards (HTML5, JavaScript) as first-class citizens. The cloud also broadens the core development skill set, as PHP and Java developers can now write to Microsoft’s cloud. Microsoft is taking a much more open approach,” he said.

But don’t think there aren’t partners, users and customers who will have to be dragged there kicking and screaming. They have big on-premise installations that work great, and partners have lamented that they can’t make money putting their apps in the cloud, but indications are Microsoft will not have a split stack. For now, it appears Microsoft is all in the cloud.

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If you weren’t here at SPTechCon, download the slides from nine-time Microsoft MVP Robert Bogue’s keynote: “SharePoint Psychology.” It was an interesting look at personality types, what motivates people to work, and why they work in certain ways, based on habit or belief system. It’s something I recommend people discuss with their bosses (if you have that kind of open relationship) to gain real productivity, happiness and—dare I say it—even personal enlightenment at the office. And, it had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with SharePoint! It did, however, give people trying to bring SharePoint into an organization a good idea of how to encourage, cajole or beat them into using it. An excellent presentation.