11 Things to Know About... WPC Takeaways

Here are 11 key takeaways from Microsoft's 2010 Worldwide Partner Conference.

Another Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) is in the bag. While we're covering a lot of the WPC news throughout the magazine and online, here are 11 key takeaways from WPC in one place:

  1. Microsoft wants partners to be "all-in" on the cloud: Nearly everything was about cloud computing. This is a little weird for partners coming in from countries where Business Productivity Online Standard Suite (BPOS) and other offerings haven't rolled out yet, but pretty compelling for U.S. partners.
  2. Keep an eye on the Windows Azure Appliance: The 900-server, private-cloud enclosures are supposed to be coming this year from Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Inc. and Fujitsu Ltd. -- extending the Microsoft cloud story.
  3. Dynamics CRM Online: Margins jumped to 40 percent in year one, and 6 percent recurring -- a huge bump from the old 18/6 mix. The offer is only guaranteed to be in place for a year. At the same time, partners are getting 250 Dynamics CRM Online seats for internal use.
  4. Cloud Pack Essentials: A quick and dirty set of tools for partners to start moving their business onto the cloud.
  5. Cloud Accelerate: A new badge to help born-on-the-cloud partners stand out.
  6. Management: Steve Ballmer seemed down. Kevin Turner was at the top of his aggressive game. Outgoing Corporate VP of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group (WPG) Allison Watson seemed wistful. New WPG CVP Jon Roskill was approachable.
  7. Full speed ahead on the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN): There's a new channel chief in Roskill, but no plans to pause the implementation. New benefits and requirements go online in October, barring technical complications.
  8. Gold is back, sort of: The Gold Certified Partner level will be out when MPN goes into full effect, but the Competencies and Advanced Competencies have been renamed Silver Competencies and Gold Competencies.
  9. Microsoft is eyeing MSPs: With Windows InTune and future scaled-down Windows Azure appliances, Microsoft is paying attention to the managed service provider market.
  10. Turnover: The heavy layoffs just ahead of WPC caused scheduling turmoil for partners and vendors, many of whose contacts were suddenly gone.
  11. Resilience: Nonetheless, partner enthusiasm was pretty high, with many partners telling us Microsoft seemed to have its mojo back. Partner attendance was huge at a reported 9,300 out of about 14,000 total attendees.

About the Author

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