So you'll have seen that we've announced Duet now, our new joint venture with SAP to bring SAP data through into Office apps - mainly Outlook.  I was amused by the IDC quote describing the renamed "mendicino" product as a "mashup" and it made me think about the clashes of culture and language required to succeed in todays global village:

“When people are unaware that information exists or lack the time to find what is needed, they risk making bad decisions,” said Mark Levitt, VP for IDC’s collaboration and enterprise workplace research. “Duet is a business mashup of Microsoft Office applications with SAP enterprise information and processes that can improve the quality and speed of decision making and workforce productivity. With Duet, SAP will be easier to access and more relevant for many more users who spend their workdays in the ‘Microsoft’ Office.”

It really is a fantastic product but what really interests me is the joint venture aspect of it.  Both companies get equal revenue from selling the product and the sales forces of both have been given quotas to hit.  If you don't think this is remarkable, just listen to the 6 min video and contrast the "Vorsprung durch technic" style of the German presenter with the standard Ballmer "YEAH!SUPER EXCITED!!" style.  There must have been some great culture clash meetings on the journey to get this thing off the ground.  Also this groundbreaking application and sales model happened in EMEA not in the US.  More proof that Microsoft is realising there is a world outside of the US.  On this theme, it caught my attention when Bill made a recent visit to Vietnam, a country I love.  Apparently he is viewed as a bit of a popstar there.

"He is excellent and successful," 21-year-old student Do Yen told AFP.

"He is my idol. I hope that our country will have someone like him in the future."

If only we could get more if this spirit in Luxembourg :-)