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Dell the Biggest Surprise Among WPC Sponsors

One way to keep track of who is making a bid for Microsoft partners' attention is to watch who sponsors the annual Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, which opens its expo today.

The biggest surprise of the 2011 conference in Los Angeles is Dell, which has always sent employees to WPC, but has never been a sponsor -- despite making a major channel push in December 2007 with the launch of the PartnerDirect program, which dovetails with the Microsoft Partner Network.

Dell has a large booth close to the entrance of the Expo hall, and the company's Twitter feed has been promising that attendees will find out about laptops, mobility, servers and storage.

As one of nine Gold sponsors of WPC, Dell is in the second tier of major sponsors. The three top-tier sponsors at the Platinum level are HP, Fujitsu and Parallels.

With the huge overlap of their partner programs, HP is regularly a major sponsor of WPC. Parallels, which specializes in hosting and cloud services enablement, has played a big role in previous WPCs. The company named former Microsoft executive Birger Steen as its CEO in February and is becoming an increasingly important strategic partner to Microsoft as Redmond floats deeper into cloud services.

Fujitsu was one of Microsoft's Azure Appliance launch partners at the 2010 conference, and as a major global reseller of servers, desktops, storage and mobile computing solutions, the company is surely interested in reaching the approximately 10,000 Microsoft partner decision makers in attendance who hail from outside the United States.

The other eight Gold sponsors are AppSense Inc., Citrix Systems Inc., GWAVA Technologies, Laserfiche, LifeSize Communications, SITECORE, Symantec Corp. and Telerik.

The Silver tier includes AltiGen, CA Technologies, Infocomm Singapore, Polycom, Quest Software, Rise and Wyse Technology Inc.

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 11, 2011