Interview: Microsoft's Dan'l Lewin on Microsoft's big launch, startups and more

At Imagine Cup 2012, Microsoft is all about pushing the boundaries and moving forward with technology. Neowin had chance to sit down with Dan'l Lewin and talk about Microsoft's ambitious endeavors with Windows 8, student development, and so much more.

After Imagine Cup, Microsoft is working hard to help these students transform ideas into business; Dan'l indicated that the Imagine Cup grants allow competitors to take their visions to the next level. Last year, they had approximately 30 applications for the grants that were made available and gave away $75,000 to four different teams. But after distributing the money, Dan'l said that they work to find local mentors to help drive their decisions. By doing this, Microsoft completes the link between the idea, funding, and a mentor to help deal with financial decisions.

When it comes to startups, Microsoft does a lot more than you might think. As Dan'l described, there are certainly well known initiatives such as DreamSpark and BizSpark but he indicated that he often introduces new companies to venture capitalist as Microsoft is not typically a venture seeking organization for many natural reasons as placing these types of bets is not generally in the best interest of investors based on Microsoft's core competencies. Now, you can't ignore that Microsoft has invested Facebook and a few other companies, but in general, they are about helping you build your business, not driving your business with capital investments. But, Microsoft certainly has connections and they are willing to leverage those to help take your business from fledging startup to the next big success story.

But what about Microsoft and it's big change. As Microsoft is working to change the world with Imagine Cup, Dan'l was affirmative that Microsoft too is going through a big change. He described Microsoft's internal mantra right now by saying the company is in "launch mode" with Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and a host of other products (we suspect Xbox, our words, not his) that will forever change the landscape. 

This big change, as Dan'l described will ultimately drive how we develop applications, form startups and look to promote goods and services. In a single year, Dan'l expects the developers ecosystem to change to embrace this unified architecture that will drive Microsoft to the forefront of technology. With this newfound cross-unification, expect to see Microsoft leverage this technology in ways we have only dreamed in the past.

Not only will this change the developer landscape, Dan'l said that he expects to see developers to quickly embrace new platforms. For example, in the near future, Windows 8 Metro developers will be the same as Windows Phone developers and Microsoft will blend this line even further with new products in the near future. Dan'l believed that Microsoft is building the most cohesive ecosystem that we have ever seen; it is certainly time to take notice about what Microsoft is doing if you haven't perked up already. 

Microsoft wants to work to help you develop your business and is providing the tools to do so. Dan'l stated that they have all the "necessary outreach programs" to help budding corporations take advantage of Microsoft products.  With Imagine Cup, Microsoft is fostering the community and by providing all the tools needed to take the next steps, it is helping to develop the next success story.

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