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RCP's 2013 Wrap-Up: The 10 Most Popular Features of the Year

From our Windows 8 and Surface 2 reviews to our MPN roadmap, here are the in-depth articles RCPmag.com readers paid the most attention to this year.

10. 2013 Microsoft National Systems Integrators (Full List)
FROM THE ARTICLE: "The Microsoft National Systems Integrators are a special group of U.S. partners with super-regional scale and special expertise. Here is the full list of the partners who made the category in Microsoft's 2013 fiscal year." [Read here.]

9. Marching Orders 2013: 11 Things Microsoft Partners Need To Do in the New Year
FROM THE ARTICLE: "Channel luminaries offer their best advice to help Microsoft partners succeed in the coming year." [Read here.]

8. One Month with Windows 8: A Review of Microsoft's Most Radical OS
READER COMMENT: "Microsoft has shelled out a mind-boggling estimated $1.8 billion to convince the public that it needs Windows 8. Why the record-breaking marketing deluge? Because a slick ad campaign is Microsoft's best shot at hiding what Windows 8 really is: a faulty product that restricts your freedom, invades your privacy and controls your data." [Read here.]

[Click on image for larger view.] Combined with the Search Charm, the new Start screen provides a solid launch platform for Metro-style apps and desktop applications. (From "One Month with Windows 8: A Review of Microsoft's Most Radical OS.")

7. Lync 2013: Microsoft Revs Up Its UC Platform
READER COMMENT: "Microsoft is turbo-charging everything about its unified communications platform -- from customer adoption and partner engagement to multiplatform capabilities and release cadence." [Read here.]

6. Microsoft's 50 'Most Competent' Partners: 2013
READER COMMENT: "Interesting information on the really large partners. Could be argued 25 competencies across 18,000 employees is not really that competent. Perhaps should look at competencies per capita of employees." [Read here.]

5. Microsoft Partner Network Roadmap: A Guide to Upcoming MPN Changes
READER COMMENT: "Wow, that's a lot of good information. So people getting in now may want to rethink their strategy, to make the best use of their time." [Read here.]

4. 40 Killer Windows Store Apps for Microsoft Partners
READER COMMENT: "What about Windows Recovery Apps? I have been using a program called RollBack Rx and it works great for getting me up and running instantly when my Windows crashes." [Read here.]

[Click on image for larger view.] The Windows 8 Shortcuts app is short and sweet. A simple tile layout shows all the keystrokes that do the same thing as one or more gestures. (From "40 Killer Windows Store Apps for Microsoft Partners.")

3. Surface 2: Microsoft Makes Strides in Hardware, but Not in Partner Opportunity
READER COMMENT: "I understand some of the concern re: the Windows store and some of the awkwardness of the Metro interface and RT, but Android and Apple have their issues, too." [Read here.]

2. Windows 8.1: The 8 Best Features and Fixes
READER COMMENT: "...I'd personally like to see syncing between the desktop and Windows Phone through Microsoft SkyDrive, but Microsoft is headed in the right directions with these improvements." [Read here.]

1. The 2013 Microsoft Product Roadmap
FROM THE ARTICLE: In broader strokes, 2013 is expected to mark the beginning of a fundamental shift for Microsoft from being primarily a software company to being a "devices and services company," as CEO Steve Ballmer described it. [Read here.]