Listen above or read an excerpt from the transcript beneath, which has been edited for clarity.
Jon Kennard: Where shall we start? Should we start with Microsoft?
Dan Richardson: I think Microsoft is a good intro. I think it touches on some things that are some topics that we cover quite a lot. For those who haven’t read this story, first of all, how dare you; spend more time on the UNLEASH website, please. But this one was basically that Microsoft’s earnings have gone up by $49.4 billion, year on year.
To contextualize that, that’s Twitter, and then some. I think what’s surprising, well maybe not surprising, but your attention gets drawn away with [the fact that] they’ve bought Activision Blizzard, that’s the big money maker, when it’s actually an investment for later on down the line. And it’s really interesting that their office offerings and their business offerings is actually what’s making them the bulk of their money.
And that’s split up into two parts. One side’s the L&D stuff, so right up your street, Jon, and the other side, is cloud. I actually think the L&D stuff’s really interesting…I never think about this, maybe you do, Jon, but I always think of LinkedIn as a separate entity, to Microsoft. So you’ve got LinkedIn Learning absolutely crushing it – that’s my professional terminology for it – it’s 34% growth in a year. 34. So, absolutely making gains there. And it’s similar case for cloud services,
I think it makes a lot of sense because everyone wants to be more agile, more flexible. Basically we have quicker access to services. Now that we do hybrid, remote, and everything else (I know some people are going back to the offices). So, that was one where it wasn’t so much of a surprise, but it’s good to see a lot of the stuff we talk about with cloud really actually coming to fruition. I think we talk to a lot of leaders, and sometimes it can sound…the best way of putting it is ‘carried away’. You’re like, ‘Oh, well, this is happening now. Everyone’s shifted to the cloud. Everyone’s doing this, and everything’s instant. And everyone knows how their employees experience their tech’. So it’s basically good to see that we’re on our way. But I don’t speak for any companies in case there’s an angry employee listening going, ‘…well, my cloud services don’t work for me at all’. But in general, that’s where the investments being made…
JK: …to add to that, like you say, the kind of the more customer facing, or at least, media facing acquisitions such as Activision Blizzard are the things that people are maybe going to focus on. And the same goes for thing for companies such as Amazon, where most of their revenue, or a lot of their revenue, comes from AWS, which is a slightly less exciting element or arm of their business.
The same with Microsoft, a lot of the things that behind the scenes that are oiling the gears of how we work now that are actually the big revenue drivers. And again, like you say, I always forget that LinkedIn is a Microsoft property. And LinkedIn Learning, obviously a video-first learning platform is hugely popular. It works really well. It’s got a great brand, it’s got a real deep library of content. So those are all things that make it definitely one of the biggest players in the market. And you can see that from the growth that it’s had. But yeah, again, if you if we were to look at rival operating systems or hardware, say Apple versus Microsoft – I’ve traditionally had a lot of Apple products – but Microsoft, I think, has seen the benefits of being more flexible and being an open platform. And that’s why it’s experiencing this ridiculous growth. It’s very much going to be a part of our future. I think it’s safe to predict that I’d say.
DR: yeah, as if it was in any doubt Microsoft isn’t going anywhere. I think if I was Apple, I’d be the more nervous of the two but if I was either of the two, I wouldn’t be very nervous about my place in business going forward…
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