Partner Advocate

The Mother of All Partner Conferences

The biggest gathering of your peers takes place this July in Boston at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference

The main event of Microsoft's partner calendar is this month. The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WWPC): Velocity 2006 runs July 11-13 in Boston.

The amount of new software in the Microsoft pipeline, as well as the uncertainty surrounding Microsoft's Software as a Service plans, means that this WWPC promises to be an even more important event than usual.

The speaker schedule indicates the need for plenty of channel preparation for the pending Microsoft product lineup. Following the opening-day fireworks of a keynote by Microsoft's energetic CEO Steve Ballmer and partner context from Allison Watson, vice president of the Worldwide Partner and Small Business Groups, Microsoft will dive right into the next round of products.

Mike Sievert, corporate vice president, Windows Client Marketing, will give partners the lowdown on turning Windows Vista into profits. Next, there's a tour of 2007 Office in a keynote from Chris Capossela, corporate vice president, Information Worker Product Management Group. Look to Capossela for tips on building solutions that connect Office desktops into server-side software.

Microsoft is also lining up executives to give partners the skinny on other future technologies, such as Exchange Server 2007 and Longhorn Server. The event will feature recaps on the SQL Server 2005 value proposition and more detail about turning Microsoft Dynamics into partner revenues. Outside the big ballrooms, smaller sessions will offer perspectives on the major Microsoft competencies, along with sales and marketing, business leadership, ISV concerns and customizing vertical solutions.

What's more, we've been assured that Microsoft will use the WWPC to begin sharing its definitions for the phrase "Software as a Service." Transparency is necessary for Microsoft to bring its partners along in the company's transition to a services model. Providing partners with definitions, even as Microsoft struggles with how the company itself will manage these changes, is a reassuring step.

If you're going to the show, keep an eye out for RCP's editors. We'd love to meet you in person and hear what we can do for you. Stop by our booth (#1220) to let us know what you think of the magazine and how we can help you strengthen your business.

In a recent reader survey, only three percent of our respondents indicated they'd attended the WWPC in 2005. If you can't make it this year, be sure to check our Web site throughout the conference for articles and blog entries about all the major developments from the show.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.