Channel Watch

A Decade of WPCs: Microsoft, 10 Years On

It's been 10 years since Redmond Channel Partner magazine launched at the 2005 Worldwide Partner Conference. Microsoft looked a lot different back then.

It's not the smoking jacket and the exclusive lounge of the "Saturday Night Live" five-time hosts' club, but 10-time attendees of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) usually get some special recognition at the annual show.

I'm looking forward to attending my 10th WPC this month in Orlando. More important, Redmond Channel Partner magazine will celebrate its 10th year in print. Our masthead shows the full 1105 Media Inc./RCP team that sets the conditions for this magazine to ship. But a special shout out goes to the talented group that works tirelessly on every issue: Howard M. Cohen, Navid Davani, Mike Harvath, Wendy Hernandez, Charles Johnson, Dan LaBianca, Shane Lee, Barb Levisay, Kurt Mackie, the anonymous M.S. Partner, Lee Pender, Gladys Rama, Jeffrey Schwartz, Scott Shultz and Michele Singh.

When RCP launched at the 2005 partner conference in Minneapolis, Microsoft was a very different company in a very different technology environment.

Comparing the company's financial statements for the 2005 fiscal year that ended just before that WPC to the way that 2015 is shaping up really brings some of those differences home.

We tend to think of the mid-2000s as the glory days when Microsoft was a colossus astride the industry. Sure, Apple has eclipsed Microsoft in several areas that seemed unimaginable in 2005, including market capitalization, but the wagon Microsoft partners are hitched to hasn't exactly been stuck in the mud.

By revenues, Microsoft was good for just less than $40 billion in FY 2005. Based on nine-month results and Microsoft's Q4 guidance, Microsoft's FY 2015 revenues will roll up to about $93 billion when the numbers come in at the end of this month.

By product, Microsoft is a technology giant transformed. Back then, Microsoft split its revenues mostly among Client ($12 billion), Server & Tools ($10 billion) and Information Worker, aka Office ($11 billion). Now, those sources remain significant and are bigger -- Commercial Licensing of Windows clients, server products and Office will tally about $41 billion this year. OEM Windows licenses, full packaged products and miscellaneous other sources will contribute a further $15 billion.

But huge new areas of revenue would have been alien to the Microsoft of 2005 -- nearly $8 billion in phone hardware revenue and nearly $10 billion in combined Xbox and Surface revenues. Cloud, which wasn't even a mainstream term in 2005, is worth $11 billion in revenues to Microsoft in 2015 -- closing in on $1 billion a month.

It's been a heck of a ride this last decade, and Microsoft's speed is just getting faster. We're looking forward to helping you keep ahead of the trends for the next 10 years

10 Years of Redmond Channel Partner
The July 2015 issue of Redmond Channel Partner marks 10 years for the only independent magazine dedicated exclusively to the success of Microsoft partners. Here are some standout covers from our first decade in print:

July 2005. The magazine launched at the WPC in Minneapolis, Minn. We put partners from RSM McGladrey and Net Solutions on the cover, and we've never taken the focus off the possibilities of partner-to-partner cooperation.

March 2006. Bill Gates now dedicates just 30 percent of his time to Microsoft and Ray Ozzie is long gone, but in early 2006, they were the pilots steering Microsoft toward the challenges of Software as a Service (SaaS). RCP identified SaaS, the first iteration of the cloud, as a key issue way back then and has been working to keep you informed on cloud trends ever since.

July 2010. Access to senior Microsoft channel executives has been a mainstay of RCP over the years. With regular exclusive and in-depth interviews with Microsoft's U.S. and worldwide channel executives, including a playful Allison Watson from this cover shoot, we strive to provide you with the inside scoops and the independent perspective you need to stay a step ahead of the market.

October 2010. When big changes are afoot for the Microsoft channel, we provide the broadest and deepest coverage, such as our comprehensive look at the Microsoft Partner Network when it arrived after three years of rumors and rumblings.

August 2012. A huge portion of RCP's readers make their living as managed services providers (MSPs), and it's a business model we cover extensively. In this MSP-focused issue, we took a deep dive into the increasing complexity of the MSP model and highlighted some emerging business opportunities for aggressive MSPs.

March 2014. As 2013 rolled into 2014, the biggest concern on many partners' minds was what direction a post-Steve Ballmer Microsoft would take. With our profile of Satya Nadella, RCP integrated his speeches and background with Microsoft's business realities to provide a clear roadmap for what to expect from the company's third CEO.


More Columns by Scott Bekker:

About the Author

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