Pat is a fantastic speaker, as always. However as always, the content can be followed by slides as well as by listening. For some reason, all the rules about not reading your slides and not putting too much content on them, he doesn't follow. And by some speaker magic, he succeeds brilliantly. Goes to show that, to each their own style, as long as you captivate the audience!
The topics remind me a lot of what I've heard from many previous conferences, Microsoft or not: Just imagine when everything you know will have changed so much you won't be able to apply any of what you know now. The big topics are storage, massive parallelisation of work, the death of the hard drive, etc.
What is less ground-breaking is one of the demoed video. It looks terribly similar to a digital home video that was available with the second edition of Bill Gate's book. Interactive TV, interactive Phone and interactive Car. Except where you used to hear windows you now hearthe software + services. Oh dear!
To be fair, the fact that these videos are vision of where Microsoft wants to go means that while marketing memes and corporate memos come and go, the company has kept one way forward and keep on pushing it forward.
But the most important thing to get from the talk is the idea that consistency is not as important as you think. It's a subject a lot of people from Amazon, eBay and other companies that scale massively have learnt and are now starting to promote. It's less important to be right than it is to be consistent.
In the end, I would have to wonder if a talk that apply to a handful of companies worldwide was really what should've been the general highlight of the last day.