Aston Martin gets top billing at Microsoft TechEd 2013
Microsoft Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson arrives on-stage at TechEd 2013 behind the wheel of an Aston Martin DB9 Volante.
Exotic sports cars are often used as attention-grabbing devices at events outside of the auto industry, and Microsoft’s recent TechEd 2013 conference in New Orleans was no exception. Microsoft uses TechEd to promote their latest software aimed at businesses and enterprise customers, and to also educate IT professionals about those same products. Microsoft had a host of big news from TechEd, and British automaker Aston Martin was featured prominently throughout the opening keynote address (video link).
In addition to working with Microsoft to provide a car for the event — more on that in a bit — Aston’s IT operations were profiled in a video segment that begins around the 2 hours 5 minute mark of the keynote. Aston Martin has invested heavily in Microsoft’s Cloud OS strategy, and uses Microsoft products like Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 in their own IT operations.
The 2013 Aston Martin DB9 Volante features many new upgrades and enhancements over the last-gen DB9. (Photo: Aston Martin)
The automotive highlight of the event was Aston Martin’s new 2013 DB9 Volante, which was driven by Microsoft Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson in a recorded pre-keynote video segment that would make Daniel Craig proud. Anderson arrived on stage behind the wheel of the Volante, and emerged sporting a grin worthy of the Cheshire Cat. “You know, I’ve got to tell you that was one of the funnest things I think I’ve ever done,” Anderson told the cheering throng of assembled IT professionals. “I’ve got to check that off the bucket list.”
It’s easy to see why Anderson was so enamored with the DB9, an Aston Martin model that was first introduced in 2006 and redesigned and upgraded for the 2013 model year. The exterior design has been tweaked and modernized, and the updated V-12 engine generates 457 Lb-ft of torque and 510HP, thanks to a revamped intake manifold, dual variable valve timing, and a machined block and cylinders. Despite the DB9’s rather portly curb weight (past the 4000lb mark), the revamped motor manages to propel the newest DB9 from zero to 60 in the mid-4 second range, and top speed is a bit north of 180 MPH. MSRP is in the eye-watering $200,000 range.
The 2013 Aston Martin DB9 features a revised V12 that generates more than 500 HP. (Photo: Aston Martin)
Granted, given that the new 2014 Corvette Stingray boasts better performance figures and is priced at a mortal $60,000 or so, you could arguably buy a quartet of Corvettes for the price of one DB9 Volante. Yet I’d imagine the average DB9 Volante customer is a few tax brackets higher than your average Corvette shopper, and buying the car that has been synonymous with 007 for the last several decades carries its own cachet.
Using exotic vehicles to make a statement is actually a fairly common theme at TechEd. At TechEd 2007, Microsoft executives were joined on stage by the time-traveling DeLorean from the Back to the Future films, complete with a frenetic and half-mental Christopher LLoyd. At TechEd 2012, Microsoft showed off a collaborative effort between Microsoft and famous car tuner West Coast Customs with the ‘Project Detroit‘ Ford Mustang project car, which sported an Xbox in the trunk and a Kinect sensor in the front grill.
I’ve written up a post-TechEd 2013 report — dubbed Ten Things I learned at TechEd 2013 — for my day job over at the Petri IT Knowledgebase, so if you’re interested in the more IT-related aspects of the conference be sure to check that out as well.