As COO of Microsoft, Kevin Turner is responsible for the\n strategic and operational leadership of some 38,000 employees\n in Microsoft's worldwide sales, marketing and services units.\n And along with Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and five other top\n executives, Turner sits on the senior leadership team that\n charts Microsoft's strategy.\n Related on CIO.com\n \n Why Microsoft Office Going Free Would Be Good For Business (And Users)\n \n SharePoint 2007 Demystified\n \n Microsoft Reveals Mesh Folder-Sharing and Sync Platform\n In a briefing at the company\u2019s headquarters in\n Redmond, Wash., this week, Turner noted that there were four\n key enterprise trends shaping Microsoft's strategic direction\n and future product offerings as well as how it will spend $7\n billion in its R&D department.The first is businesses' growing interest in virtualization.\n "It's not a trend," Turner says of virtualization, "but a\n theme." And that theme relates to cost savings using\n virtualization tools, such as Microsoft's Hyper V product. (See\n Microsoft Releases Beta of Hyper-V Virtualization Tools.) Though there are a couple of\n different areas where Microsoft is building out its nascent\n application and desktop virtualization offerings, server\n virtualization is where it's focusing most of its efforts in\n a bid to unseat market leader VMware.The second important market trend is the rise of on-demand\n or software-as-a-service applications. Microsoft calls its new\n offerings in this area as "software plus services," and Turner\n says that Microsoft's move into this space is because customers\n are demanding it. (For more information, see Microsoft Buys into the Cloud and\n Microsoft Launches On-Demand CRM Software into a Crowded Market.)"People want choice," Turner says. "We believe that most\n large customers will have a variety of business models that\n relate to software, and there are some bits of their\n information that they won't want [someone else] to host or\n control." For those that companies want a third-party to host,\n Microsoft or its partners are already or will soon be offering\n to host a multitude of Microsoft products and services (such as\n Office, Dynamics CRM, Exchange or SharePoint) on its\n servers.The third area is around unified communications, Turner\n says, and companies' "mobility story," which includes providing\n the ability to connect voice, data and video over\n communications devices, such as smartphones running the Windows\n Mobile platform and other telephony devices, and the computing\n desktop. (Also see: Seven Fantastic Free Windows Mobile\n Apps.)And fourth, Turner says that the "hottest area" in Microsoft\n is in the collaboration space and Microsoft's SharePoint server\n product, which offers companies the ability manage their\n documents, records and other content, search that content and\n provide other workflow and collaboration opportunities. (For\n more, see SharePoint 2007 Demystified and Microsoft Reveals Mesh Folder-Sharing and Sync Platform.)Taken together, these four market trends are where Microsoft\n will be releasing new products and solutions that will "really\n help [customers] solve their problems," which, he says, is\n exactly what they are looking for from Microsoft right now.