Christopher Young, Microsoft government vice chairman of enterprise improvement, technique and ventures, speaks on the 2021 GeekWire Summit in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Christopher Young’s priorities are a window into the way forward for Microsoft’s enterprise.

Young, the previous CEO of McAfee and a veteran of the cybersecurity trade, joined Microsoft a 12 months in the past as its government vice chairman of enterprise improvement, technique and ventures. He and his crew oversee strategic partnerships, investments, and acquisitions, working with Microsoft’s enterprise and product groups to anticipate and help the corporate’s future wants.

Recent examples embrace Microsoft’s funding and partnership with Seattle-based healthcare knowledge startup Truveta, and its funding in GM’s Cruise as a part of a broader cloud partnership with the self-driving automobile firm.

In the realm of early stage investments, Young’s group additionally contains Microsoft’s M12 enterprise capital fund, which has made greater than 100 investments since its founding 5 years in the past, and named Michelle Gonzalez as its new chief in June.

“The way we think about our mission as part of the company is to drive opportunities for longer-term growth, to be thinking three, five, seven, 10 years out, in terms of the roadmap and where we ought to be as a company,” Young stated throughout an on-stage interview on the GeekWire Summit final week.

With that in thoughts, he recognized a number of areas the place he and his crew are focusing.

Future of labor, communication and collaboration: “We’re in the early stages of what the new form of work looks like over the long run,” Young stated.

He and his crew are serving to to develop partnerships and construct an ecosystem round Microsoft Teams. At the identical time, Microsoft is trying to broaden Teams past the office into the buyer market, adapting the expertise for private use.

Artificial intelligence: AI is “redefining most of what we’re doing,” Young stated, calling it “a big area of transformation and opportunity” throughout many industries.

An instance that predates Young’s tenure is the corporate’s $1 billion funding OpenAI, which incorporates an ongoing partnership that offers Microsoft early entry to the GPT-3 pure language processing expertise.

Microsoft’s work on accountable AI additionally influences his group’s strategy, Young stated.

Health and life sciences: Microsoft’s work in well being and life sciences ranges from affected person care to new applied sciences for drug discovery and improvement.

Young cited Microsoft’s partnership with Harvard, Alphabet’s Verily, and MIT’s Broad Institute to advance the Terra biomedical analysis platform as one other instance of the corporate’s efforts on this space.

Microsoft’s pending settlement to amass Nuance for $19.7 billion displays the corporate’s deal with each healthcare and AI. Voice recognition and pure language processing expertise are key substances for AI, and one of many main functions for Nuance is in healthcare.

Quantum computing: The long-term impression of quantum computing could also be even additional sooner or later, however along with its personal research-and-development, Microsoft is laying the groundwork by offers similar to M12’s funding in Silicon Valley startup PsiQuantum.

Cybersecurity: Is it a coincidence that Microsoft picked a cybersecurity trade veteran as its new enterprise improvement chief? Young’s expertise has helped to tell the corporate’s string of acquisitions of cybersecurity corporations, together with RiskIQ, CloudKnox, and ReFirm Labs. 

Cybersecurity is “a core commitment” for Microsoft, Young stated.

The firm lately employed former Amazon Web Services government Charlie Bell to steer a brand new Security, Compliance, Identity, and Management group that brings collectively a lot of its present groups in these areas.

“I don’t have a specific cybersecurity-oriented role at Microsoft, but because of all the work that we do in the space, I get a chance to spend a lot of time on it,” Young stated. “It is part of my life’s work, so it’s not something that I ever think I’ll completely be separated from.”

Full movies of the session with Chris Young and different GeekWire Summit audio system is accessible on-demand to paid attendees. You can register as a digital attendee right here.