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Q&A: Getting Customers Ready for the Windows Server 2003 Deadline

Although it's gotten far less attention than the recent Windows XP deadline, the retirement of support for Windows Server 2003 will be one of the most important of the predictable security issues of 2015.

Microsoft officially ends support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015. The deadline has some of the same ramifications that the Windows XP deadline had: Microsoft will no longer patch Windows Server 2003 for new security vulnerabilities. Presumably, Microsoft will offer expensive Custom Support Agreements for enterprises to continue getting patch support after that date, but there's been no official announcement yet. In the meantime, new security vulnerabilities keep cropping up for the aging OS. During the last full year, 2013, Microsoft released 37 critical updates for Windows Server 2003. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on September 17, 2014 at 1:30 PM0 comments

Gartner Raising a Scare About Mobile Apps

How secure are those mobile apps that users bring into company networks via their own devices? Not very, according to researchers at Gartner. Nor is the situation likely to improve soon.

As part of the Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit this week in Dubai, Gartner principal research analyst Dionisio Zumerle flagged mobile apps as an emerging route for attackers to get into enterprise networks and steal corporate data. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on September 17, 2014 at 11:20 AM0 comments

Mojang Ranks Among Microsoft's Biggest Acquisitions

Microsoft just spent $2.5 billion on Mojang, the little Swedish company that created the wildly popular, blocky-graphic video game Minecraft.

This is an enormous amount of money by any standard. For a little context, this ranks as the fourth-largest dollar amount for an investment in Microsoft's history. It trails only what Microsoft paid for Skype ($8.5 billion), Nokia's phone business ($7.2 billion) and aQuantive ($6.3 billion). More

Posted by Scott Bekker on September 15, 2014 at 9:10 AM0 comments

Microsoft Takes Some Office 365 Deployments In-House

A new program offering free Office 365 migrations performed remotely by Microsoft employees for customers with more than 150 seats went live this week. Partner reaction so far has ranged generally from extreme concern to wary acceptance.

Microsoft formally announced two new programs to customers in a blog post on Wednesday -- the Office 365 FastTrack Onboarding Center and the Office 365 Adoption Offer. Both programs officially launched Sept. 1. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on September 04, 2014 at 11:17 AM0 comments

Windows 8 Use Overtakes XP Worldwide

Windows 8 finally overtook Windows XP in global Internet usage in August, more than four months after Microsoft stopped supporting the aging operating system, according to Web site analytics company StatCounter.

In figures released Tuesday, StatCounter Global Stats put the combined worldwide share for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 at 14 percent, compared with 12.9 percent for Windows XP (see Figure 1). Microsoft put a stop to paid support for Windows XP on April 8. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on September 02, 2014 at 9:51 AM0 comments

Ballmer's Exit Simplifies Microsoft Board Politics for Nadella

It looks like boardroom politics just got simplified for Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

As we noted back in April, the Microsoft boardroom had the potential to become a very disharmonious place. For a long time, Bill Gates was revered in tech circles for exercising near total control over the Microsoft board. A key element of the most recent era of the Microsoft board was Gates and former CEO Steve Ballmer seeing eye to eye on most things, and presenting a unified front of the two largest shareholders. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on August 21, 2014 at 1:04 PM0 comments

Meet Microsoft's New No. 2 in the Channel

The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group's new No. 2 may be new to WPG and to most Microsoft partners, but it's not Gavriella Schuster's first time building programs for the Microsoft channel.

Microsoft global channel chief Phil Sorgen named Schuster in May to the newly created role of general manager of Worldwide Partner Programs. The job combines the titles held by two formerly high-ranking and long-serving Microsoft partner executives -- Julie Bennani, general manager of the Microsoft Partner Network, and Karl Noakes, senior director of Worldwide Partner Marketing and Communications. After a brief transition period, both Bennani and Noakes left Microsoft, according to their LinkedIn profiles. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on August 20, 2014 at 12:26 PM0 comments

Sorgen Shares Microsoft's Scorecard Metrics for FY'15

Partners who depend on Microsoft field representatives to help close sales or to access Microsoft resources and benefits can often help themselves by knowing the Microsoft employees' incentives.

As explained in two recent Both Sides columns, "What Gaps Does Microsoft Want Partners To Fill?" and "How To Motivate Microsoft To Close Your Opportunities," the Microsoft field tends to be motivated by what's commonly known as the scorecard. More specifically, Microsoft refers to two specific targets -- Revenue-Based Incentives (RBI) and Commitment-Based Incentives (CBI). More

Posted by Scott Bekker on August 18, 2014 at 12:58 PM0 comments

Microsoft Kills Training Requirements for Some Dynamics Partners

Microsoft this week removed training from the requirements of gold and silver competencies for partners focused on certain Dynamics products.

The move is a major reversal for Microsoft's Dynamics organization, which spent the last few years ratcheting up training and other requirements in a way that strained the resources of smaller Dynamics partner organizations. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on August 14, 2014 at 4:35 PM0 comments

Kaseya Acquires Scorpion Software

Four months after rebranding itself as an "IT management cloud company," Kaseya acquired a security company that will provide the foundation for a new identity management as a service (IDaaS) offering.

Kaseya on Tuesday announced the acquisition of Scorpion Software, a Chilliwack, British Columbia company that sells password solutions for two-factor authentication, single sign-on and password management. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on August 12, 2014 at 11:41 AM0 comments

MPN Cloud Gold Competencies To Come with Guarantee

The addition of the first three cloud competencies to the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) on Sept. 29 will come with a twist.

"When a customer achieves the gold competency level, we will provide them with account management. We've never made that commitment before," Gavriella Schuster, general manager of worldwide partner marketing and programs at Microsoft, said in an interview with RCP. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 25, 2014 at 10:27 AM0 comments

Introducing the 2014 RCP/Rocket Award Winners

For the second year, Redmond Channel Partner magazine has teamed with Revenue Rocket Consulting Group to award IT services companies with unique business strategies that are resulting in sustained growth.

Today we're pleased to announce the three winners of our second annual award: Concurrency Inc., a multi-competency Microsoft infrastructure solution provider based in Milwaukee, Wis.; HMB Inc., a business technology services firm in Columbus, Ohio; and PowerObjects, a Microsoft Dynamics CRM specialist based in Minneapolis, Minn. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 11, 2014 at 11:09 AM0 comments