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Microsoft’s next moves: Biz dev and strategy leader Christopher Young is focusing on these key areas
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Microsoft’s next moves: Biz dev and strategy leader Christopher Young is focusing on these key areas

Christopher Young’s priorities are a window into the way forward for Microsoft’s enterprise.

Young, the previous CEO of McAfee and a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, joined Microsoft a 12 months in the past as its government vp of enterprise growth, strategy and ventures. He and his staff oversee company strategy, strategic partnerships, and enterprise investments, working with Microsoft’s enterprise and product groups to anticipate and assist the corporate’s future wants.

Latest examples embrace Microsoft’s funding and partnership with Seattle-based healthcare data startup Truveta, and its investment in GM’s Cruise as a part of a broader cloud partnership with the self-driving automotive firm.

Within the realm of early stage investments, Young’s group additionally contains Microsoft’s M12 enterprise capital fund, which has made greater than 100 investments since its founding 5 years in the past, and named Michelle Gonzalez as its new leader in June.

“The way in which we take into consideration our mission as a part of the corporate is to drive alternatives for longer-term progress, to be pondering three, 5, seven, 10 years out, by way of the roadmap and the place we must be as an organization,” Young mentioned throughout an on-stage interview on the GeekWire Summit final week.

With that in thoughts, he recognized a number of areas the place he and his staff are focusing.

Future of labor, communication and collaboration: “We’re within the early levels of what the brand new type of work seems to be like over the long term,” Young mentioned.

He and his staff are serving to to develop partnerships and construct an ecosystem round Microsoft Groups. On the identical time, Microsoft is seeking to expand Teams beyond the workplace into the consumer market, adapting the know-how for private use.

Synthetic intelligence: AI is “redefining most of what we’re doing,” Young mentioned, calling it “an enormous space of transformation and alternative” throughout many industries.

An instance that predates Young’s tenure is the corporate’s $1 billion investment OpenAI, which incorporates an ongoing partnership that gives Microsoft early access to the GPT-3 natural language processing technology.

Microsoft’s work on responsible AI additionally influences his group’s strategy, Young mentioned.

Well being and life sciences: Microsoft’s work in well being and life sciences ranges from affected person care to new applied sciences for drug discovery and growth.

Young cited Microsoft’s partnership with Harvard, Alphabet’s Verily, and MIT’s Broad Institute to advance the Terra biomedical analysis platform as one other instance of the corporate’s efforts on this space.

Microsoft’s pending agreement to acquire Nuance for $19.7 billion displays the corporate’s focus on each healthcare and AI. Voice recognition and pure language processing know-how are key elements for AI, and one of many main purposes for Nuance is in healthcare.

Quantum computing: The long-term affect of quantum computing could also be even additional sooner or later, however along with its personal research-and-development, Microsoft is laying the groundwork by means of offers such as M12’s investment in Silicon Valley startup PsiQuantum.

Cybersecurity: Is it a coincidence that Microsoft picked a cybersecurity trade veteran as its new enterprise growth leader? Young’s expertise has helped to tell the corporate’s string of acquisitions of cybersecurity corporations, together with RiskIQ, CloudKnox, and ReFirm Labs. 

Cybersecurity is “a core dedication” for Microsoft, Young mentioned.

The corporate lately employed former Amazon Internet Companies government Charlie Bell to lead a new Security, Compliance, Identity, and Management group that brings collectively lots of its current groups in these areas.

“I don’t have a selected cybersecurity-oriented function at Microsoft, however due to all of the work that we do within the area, I get an opportunity to spend so much of time on it,” Young mentioned. “It is a part of my life’s work, so it’s not one thing that I ever suppose I’ll fully be separated from.”

Full movies of the session with Chris Young and different GeekWire Summit audio system is accessible on-demand to paid attendees. You may register as a virtual attendee here.

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