#6 Newsmaker: Eric Gales of Microsoft Canada

This year, Eric Gales, president of Microsoft Canada, makes our list for the third consecutive year, leading the subsidiary through several new product releases and products related to its mobility strategy and the cloud.

This year saw the public releases of Windows Intune, a Web-based PC management and security platform and Office 365, the company’s answer to SMB productivity in the cloud.

In February, Microsoft announced a strategic partnership with Nokia, where the company would use the Windows Phone as its principal smartphone. “That’s really going to be the fuel,” to Microsoft’s success in the smartphone market, Gales said. “That’ll really start to pick up some momentum this year.”

In October, Nokia unveiled its Windows Mango phones.

Related story: Microsoft, HP unveil joint cloud offering

Perhaps its biggest news was the beta launch of Windows 8, the company’s “touch-first,” tablet focused operating system.

It also acquired Skype for US$8.5 billion and later announced it would integrate Skype’s calling features into many of its products, such as Office, but would also keep it open to competing platforms. The deal officially closed in October.

During the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference in California this year, the company introduced a multi-billion dollar channel investment strategy, adding incentives for all Microsoft partners and paying out incentives for cloud partners more quickly.

Microsoft also announced that next year’s event would be held in Toronto for the first time since 2004. “We’re going to be really focused on making it the best WPC ever,” Gales told CDN. Most of the July event will take place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and the Air Canada Centre.

The company also announced it would be expanding its retail stores in the U.S. and Gales told CDN he hopes that Canadians will see that expansion as well.

“I am campaigning for us to bring the store to Canada,” Gales said.

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