It's that time of year again where I write and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
For me and the team 2013 has been a breakthrough year. Thank you to the more than 4,000 who attended our events and trainings throughout the year. In addition to our events I am proud of the work that we do with kiwi students and start-ups. The Microsoft Imagine Cup this year received 550 student team submissions from across NZ, culminating in an expo in Auckland where the winning team was selected to go to St Petersburg to represent NZ.
This month we have partnered with the University of Auckland and a number of kiwi businesses to train 150 students in building Windows apps and have placed them in companies for 12 weeks of work experience over the summer.
We now have more than 600 start-ups in NZ through our BizSpark programme and more than 1/3 of these start-ups are using Windows Azure, with 15% using it at huge scale. It was a real highlight having Scott Guthrie back in NZ talking Windows Azure. Thank you to the great kiwi customers and partners that have helped us to tell the story along the way - check out the Azure customer booklet and the kiwi success stories, Start-ups, apps, Azure and Visual Studio.
Over the last quarter we have seen huge growth with Windows 8.1, Windows Azure and Windows Phone. Windows Phone has finally broken through with large gains in share in NZ in the late part of the year. You may have heard that Windows Phone is now the fastest growing mobile platform in the world and New Zealand is doing much better than the world wide average selling through 15% share in July. We have more than 1,500 registered kiwi developers releasing apps for Windows with many engaging millions of users. Keith Patton's windows phone game Alphajax has over 3.5 million users playing on Windows Phone, that is more users than Trade Me and Xero combined!
For NZ branded apps I'd like to welcome the latest Windows apps from the All Blacks and New Zealand Cricket, Yellow, Eventfinda and the University of Auckland along with line of business tablet apps for CPIT, Silver Fern Farms, Sealord and Ultranet onto the Windows store.
With all this growth we have finally made a breakthrough with some of NZ's best known and most popular mobile games. It took just 5 months for PikPok's Into the Dead game to pass 10 million downloads. I am proud to announce that Into the Dead is now in the Windows Store and will be in the Windows Phone Store shortly.
I am also pleased to announce that Rocket Jump have released Major Mayhem for Windows Store (I personally can't stop playing this one). To round out the set Flightless have released their hugely successful Bee Leader to the Windows Store and Windows Phone.
If you are like me, happy to see these great "kiwi made" games arrive on the Windows platform please buy these games and rate them to show your support for the teams!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!