Microsoft shows off its wares to information-technology workers, with an emphasis on security, smarter tools and partnerships with other companies.
ATLANTA — Microsoft brought out a high-tech version of “work smarter, not harder” on Monday, pitching a slate of next-generation software tools designed to help businesses better use their technology.
In a demonstration here, Microsoft showed how, if it deployed all the computing power of its global network of server farms, it could translate all 3 billion words in the English language Wikipedia in less than a tenth of a second.
The company also showed off tools that might be of more practical use, including a software feature designed to make a web browser malware proof.
Microsoft used its stage here on the first day of its annual Ignite conference, in front of about 23,000 information-technology workers, to make the case that its products are safer, and smarter, than the alternatives on the market.
Strung throughout the day was a focus on cybersecurity, a high-profile issue for IT departments eager to avoid the failure to protect customer data at the likes of Target, the Home Depot, and, most recently, Yahoo.
The focus on security might surprise developers of an earlier era, some of whom were frustrated by Microsoft’s tendency to release software vulnerable to attack via the internet.
“Our investment in security has ramped up pretty significantly in the last 12 months,” Julia White, a corporate vice president in Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise group, said in an interview.
The goal isn’t to compete with security vendors like Symantec or Kaspersky, she said. Instead, Microsoft engineers believe they can do a better job protecting the products they know inside and out, particularly in a world in which most software is vulnerable to attack via the internet, White said.
A slate of product features introduced on Monday were designed to protect a company’s employees from themselves. Firewalls can be rendered moot if a user clicks on a malicious link in an email or ventures outside the corporate-approved sandbox.
The new Windows Defender Application Guard walls off the Microsoft Edge browser from a computer’s other software and corporate network, keeping malware accessed on the web from spreading beyond the browser.
Matt Barlow, the corporate vice president who leads Windows marketing, said the tool may migrate to browsers built by other companies or some other Microsoft tools. But for now it is limited to the Windows 10-only Microsoft Edge at the feature’s release sometime next year.
Other tools, designed to help people detect weak points or potential breaches, address what security experts say is the near certainty that businesses will have some of their data stolen.
“It’s a different approach” for Microsoft, Patrick Moorhead, president of independent researcher Moor Insights & Strategy. “Saying ‘you’re going to keep them out,’ won’t work.”
Microsoft also used its time here to tout the partners the company was bringing along.
Adobe, the maker of Photoshop and an array of digital media and marketing tools, said Monday that it plans to use Microsoft’s Azure data-center network as the plumbing that supports its web-based software, a partnership Chief Executive Satya Nadella called a “massive milestone.”
Meanwhile, Docker, the software-developer favorite that pioneered the use of containers, is joining up with Microsoft to offer its customer-support package to everyone who buys Windows Server 2016, at no additional cost. Containers build a virtual wall around a piece of software, with the aim of making it easier to transport from one piece of hardware to another.
Microsoft, a company better known for software than hardware also brought its own hardware to bear Monday, showing off its use of field programmable gate arrays to boost the performance of its data centers.
The company has quietly embedded the devices, a sort of reprogrammable computer chip, in its data centers, using them to improve the performance of the Azure cloud-computing network, as well as power-search ranking results in Bing.
Doug Burger, a Microsoft researcher plugging away at the technology since 2011, showed off how it could speed up an array of artificial intelligence tasks, from image recognition to translating Wikipedia.
But Nadella, who as CEO has tended to wax poetic in public about the societal benefits of technology rather than be seen hawking products, said the aim was to build technology that could help others solve problems rather than set records for their own sake.
“We are not pursuing AI,” he said, using the term for artificial intelligence, “to beat humans at games.”