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Microsoft CEO talks up Kiwi developers and the "Minecraft Generation"

Paul Brislen, Editor. 17 November 2016, 5:30 pm
Microsoft CEO talks up Kiwi developers and the "Minecraft Generation"

A whirlwind trip to New Zealand for Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella didn't give him much time to enjoy the sights, but did give him a good look at the New Zealand developer community and he seems to have liked what he saw.

More than 120 developers were invited to see Nadella speak at the ASB Waterfront Theatre and to hear his vision for the company that once dominated the computer industry.

Today, Microsoft is emerging from a period of turbulence and trying to reengage both with users and developers alike. Nadella says the developers are a key part of the Microsoft strategy for the next few years and he name checked several Kiwi developers.

"You definitely punch above your weight when it comes to developers" he told the audience.

Among those mentioned were Hapara for its tools designed for the education system, Datacom for its HoloLens work at Auckland Museum and Volpara for its work on pattern recognition and machine learning in the field of breast cancer detection and reporting. Around 35% of breast cancers go undetected, according to Nadella, and the work Volpara does in helping identify these cancers at an early stage will go a long way towards helping reduce that figure.

The big issues facing Microsoft include the move from standalone operating systems to those which work on multiple devices in multiple environments, something which he says marks Windows 10 out from its predecessors.

But it was the developer community which Nadella spoke directly to, especially those in the "Minecraft Generation" who want to create and consume digital products in a way never before seen.

"I truly believe in that byline we use - When you change the way you see the world you change the world you see."

Nadella is a strong believer in both globalisation ("Without it, my own story would be quite different") and what he calls the "democratisation" of technology - bringing products and services to the user on any platform, using any interface, in any environment.

Nadella was in New Zealand for less than a day, coming fresh from Australia and before that Beijing, and his trip is part of Microsoft's re-engagement with its customers in the new cloud-based, app-driven world.


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