Hey, I'm Dan! I invest in early-stage startups at Madrona and write the DL, a weekly newsletter about tech in the PNW

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Microsoft Build Highlights

Microsoft hosted their annual developer conference, Build, as a 48 hour virtual event last week. You can watch all the keynotes and sessions here on-demand and read their announcement summaries here.


Here are four things I found interesting that tell you where Microsoft is headed over the next few years:

  1. Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare - Microsoft is packaging Microsoft 365, Dynamics, and Azure into vertical cloud solutions with industry-specific data models, connectors, and workflows. Healthcare is first, and looks like financial services and energy could be next
  2. Fluid Framework - Fluid is a set of open source building blocks for text, tables, lists, and charts that can be used across apps. Seems like a low-code/no-code UI layer for Microsoft apps to compete with products like Notion and Coda. Try out the preview here
  3. Softomotive - Microsoft is continuing to enhance their Power Automate/RPA offering by acquiring Softomotive, which allows customers to build automated workflows using a “drag and drop” interface with macro and web recorders (screenshots here)
  4. AI Stuff - Last but not least, there are 26 mentions of AI on Microsoft’s Build summary, from edge AI, to OpenAI’s “supercomputer,” to Project Bonsai, to a bunch of new Azure ML services. Clearly, AI has been (and will continue to be) an important area of investment


Overall, not a surprise to see cloud, productivity, automation, and AI as key areas of investment. More interesting, however, is how Microsoft is piecing different products together as “solutions” (e.g., healthcare cloud) and the integrations between products (e.g., charts outside of Excel).


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