Microsoft offers new hints on Surface, Skype, Windows Phone

Redmond is calling its fiscal 2014 its biggest year of innovation ever. Here's the slide that shows why.

Microsoft FY14 innovation plans
Microsoft has lots on its plate for its 2014 fiscal year, as revealed July 10, 2013, at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference. Microsoft/Screenshot by ZDNet

Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner shared some new hints about what's coming during what he called Microsoft's "biggest innovation year ever" during Day 3 of Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference.

Turner showed the slide above at the end of his remarks on Wednesday. (Sorry it's a bit blurry; I captured it from Microsoft's video feed. It also is not arranged in chronological order, as far as I can tell; it's just a collection of product launch points.)

We already knew Microsoft had committed to launching Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Visual Studio 2013, SQL Server 2014, System Center 2012 R2 and a host of other "Blue" wave of products during this coming fiscal year. (Microsoft's FY 14 runs from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014.)

But there were more levels of granularity in Turner's presentation. While he didn't reveal any specific dates or many details, here are a few things I thought worth calling out from the slide:

Skype: Support for large meetings; support for enterprise voice (probably in conjunction with Lync integration, I'd think); integration with Outlook.com and Office 365

Windows Phone: Start screen "innovation"; common app platform with Windows (we'll see how far they get toward complete commonality by the time this announcement is made);

Surface: New accessories and accessory colors; some kinds of updates to both Surface RT and Surface Pro (no word if this means just the regular monthly firmware-type updates or new processors, or what)

Office: Office Windows Store apps (codenamed Gemini, an alpha of which we got a glimpse of last month)

Dynamics: NAV 2013 R2; GP 2013 R2

Turner also announced that Microsoft will have a total of 101 Microsoft brick-and-mortar stores (a combination of full-size and specialty stores) by the end of 2014 (I believe that's FY 2014). Right now, Microsoft has more than 75 stores in the U.S. and Canada. Turner confirmed Microsoft plans to open Microsoft Stores in China in this fiscal year, as well.

 It's going to be another busy year for us Microsoft watchers.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet under the headline "New hints on what's coming next for Microsoft Surface, Skype, Windows Phone."

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