3 min read

The top 25 newsmakers of 2007 – Number 5: Phil Sorgen

The Microsoft Canada president speaks of a new development centre in Canada and some successes seen both inside and outside of the company

Phil Sorgen’s career with Microsoft Corp. first began over 10 years ago with his time in the United States, acting as general manager of Microsoft’s U.S. enterprise sales operations team. Fast forward two years later and Sorgen is now the president of Mississauga, Ont.-based Microsoft Canada.

During a previous interview with Sorgen, he noted the importance of continual innovation in order to keep up with the highly-competitive IT industry.

“We’re in an industry where we’re always competing and competition is frequently emerging,” Sorgen said. “If we don’t continue to innovate, we’ll stop existing as a company.”

This statement thus explains why Sorgen is so quick to rattle off some of Microsoft’s successful product launches over the course of the past year.

“This was a great year for Microsoft across the globe,” Sorgen said. “We had worldwide success with a host of new offerings: from Halo 3 to Windows Live to the Office 2007 and Windows Vista launch.”

Earlier this year, Microsoft launched its much anticipated Windows Vista operating system. To date, Sorgen says thanks to Microsoft’s solid partner ecosystem, 88 million Windows Vista licenses have since been sold worldwide.

“Our partners are doing a great job customizing the experience of Windows Vista for our Canadian businesses and organizations,” Sorgen said.

In addition, Microsoft also launched Visual Studio 2008 this year, its software development tool to make it easier for software programmers and Web designers to design projects.

Alliance agreements

Sorgen also says Microsoft’s four-year alliance with Nortel is another highlight for the company this year.

“The evolution of [Microsoft] and Nortel’s ICA [Innovative Communications Alliance, which began last year] was a complementary alliance,” Sorgen said. “It is truly bringing two leaders in their respective fields together to pursue new opportunities and it is based on a shared vision that unified communications should be based on integrating a single client, directory and presence engine with enterprise-grade telephony.”

Under this alliance, both Microsoft and Nortel are taking a software-centric approach when it comes to the joint product development of their products, integration of their services and solutions, as well as their go-to-market initiatives.

Since the alliance was first announced last summer, Sorgen says the partnership has led to thousands of licenses being sold, which is a testament to the successful collaborative effort between the vendors.

“The alliance has been a huge success with 430,000 individual end-user licenses [being sold] for our joint offerings from more than 100 countries in North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America,” Sorgen said.

Aside from these alliances, Sorgen says it is Microsoft Canada’s partner community that helped bring about the true success this year for the company.

“I am constantly amazed at the pace of innovation from our partners,” Sorgen said. “Our key to our business model in Canada is helping these Canadian partners to be leaders on the world stage.”

Microsoft’s role with its partner community is more of a supportive one, Sorgen says.

“We provide the platform that helps to shape the pipeline of innovation within our partner ecosystem,” he said.

From an internal company standpoint, Sorgen also says Microsoft Canada has achieved great success, as it was recognized as the top performing subsidiary within Microsoft earlier this year.

Sorgen says this is the top team award that can be won with Microsoft.

“This recognition is based on a balanced scorecard focused on customer and partner satisfaction, business growth, innovation and attracting, developing and retaining the top talent in the industry,” he adds.

Coming to Canada

Another highlight for the company, Sorgen reveals, is the recent announcement of the Microsoft Canada Development Centre in Richmond, B.C., which is set to take place in the spring of 2008.

The development centre will be one of the many that are currently in operation outside of the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

“For the first time, [this centre] will bring a major product development effort to Canada,” Sorgen said.

“Through this development centre, Microsoft will be able to attract some of the brightest and most innovative people from around the world.”

Sorgen says the centre will not only help Canada economically, but it will also position the country as an innovative leader in the IT industry.