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WPC: Microsoft To Include Windows Embedded Partners in MPN

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Microsoft plans to transition its Windows Embedded partners into the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) in the coming months, the company announced on Tuesday during its Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston.

Microsoft's press release states the transition will begin "later this year," though the Windows Embedded Partner Program (WEPP) Web site states the transition will begin in January 2014. UPDATE, 7/10: A Microsoft spokesperson clarified the timing issue in an e-mail: "We will be sharing additional details with our current Windows Embedded Partners on how to join MPN or easily transition your WEPP membership in the coming months, and at this time we expect to begin helping these partners transition later this year, with the official launch of our Microsoft Partner Network integration in January 2014."

After the transition, Windows Embedded partners will be able to access the marketing, sales and training resources available to all MPN partners, as well as internal use rights (IURs). Additionally, "partners that attained Gold and Silver competencies as part of WEPP can expect a similar level of service and recognition opportunities under MPN," according to Microsoft. WEPP partners will have to pay the standard MPN annual subscription fees.

Windows Embedded is Microsoft's operating system line for specialized mobile devices used in the automotive, retail, health care and manufacturing industries, among others. On-boarding WEPP partners -- which include embedded device makers, designers and silicon vendors -- into the MPN will give them the level of support required to keep pace with the growing "intelligent systems" market, according to Microsoft.

"Intelligent systems" is Microsoft's term for sophisticated industrial devices that are Internet- and cloud-enabled, and are capable of extracting large amounts of data. Citing a study from research firm IDC, Microsoft projects that by 2016, the market for intelligent systems will have doubled from where it was in 2012, reaching $2.3 trillion in revenue and 4.6 billion units.

According to the WEPP site, a new MPN specialization, dubbed the Intelligent Systems Specialization, will launch in January for solution partners that are looking to grow their footprint in the intelligent systems market.

"Qualifying independent software vendors (ISVs) and systems integrators (SIs) will have the opportunity to work closely with Windows Embedded and its customers in designing, developing and deploying Microsoft intelligent systems solutions," Microsoft said in its release. "This specialization is an evolution of the resources that the WEPP made available last year and helps formalize intelligent systems as an opportunity for partners wanting to harness the growth potential of embedded technologies."

Microsoft also plans to launch the Device Design and Development Resource Center in January for companies involved in the design and deployment of intelligent systems. The Resource Center will be part of the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription (MAPS) program.

More News and Analysis from WPC 2013:

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.

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