We then moved on to Anthony Hilton, the financial editor of the Evening Standard, who talked us through some of the characteristics of the current recession. We should expect a long period of slow growth, subdued consumption and continued high unemployment, he warned, but the good news is that "recessions get rid of the idiots."
Some of his best quotes, however, had nothing to do with Microsoft, or the recession. He described BBC business correspondent Robert Peston as an "irritating little sod", and referred to his own publication's decision to stop charging a cover price as a "last desperate throw of the dice." Great career move there Tony.
During a subsequent discussion session, the collected Microsoft execs were asked if Microsoft was going to launch and own-brand tablet PC and the answer was a definite no. Microsoft is not going to make its own hardware, they said, and that was confirmed by Steve Ballmer himself who was in town earlier in the week.
The morning session was concluded by Nick McGrath, the UK commercial market strategy director for Microsoft UK. He was fairly uninhibited about deriding some of Microsoft's competitors. He inferred that Oracle does less for its partners, VMware is too expensive and Google Apps are not business ready.
The subsequent discussion session was unremarkable until a, let's say, over exuberant delegate stormed the stage and demanded his question be answered directly, rather than using the approved text message method. He had to be rather firmly dissuaded from this course of action by Aligiah, and it was all rather awkward, but funny too.