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The $100 Million Apps

Microsoft has lots of news coming out of its Professional Developers Conference this week, much of it centered on Windows Vista. For ISV partners, this may be the biggest nugget: a new $100 million co-marketing effort dubbed the Windows Vista Partner Showcase Program. The program is designed to encourage the development of all types of new apps on Vista and promises participating ISVs access to new distribution channels, co-marketing opportunities and financial incentives.

Vista Previews Coming Fast and Furious
Microsoft is also this week distributing the first of what promises to be many Community Technology Previews of Windows Vista -- the company says it plans to release CTPs on a monthly basis. Although it comes little more than a month after Vista Beta 1, this first CTP nonetheless includes lots of new features, with catchy names like SuperFetch, SideShow and Flip 3D, along with peer-to-peer collaboration, an updated Taskbar, fast on-off and more. If that fast on-off really works in two to three seconds, as advertised, it will quickly become my personal favorite. (Is it just me or does patience wear thinner with age?) It also has the potential to reduce telephone support costs by millions, by nearly eliminating time spent on awkward, idle chit-chat while waiting for those interminable reboots. Not that Vista will need any reboots ...

Gates Demos Office Facelift
Office 12 also got some stage time at PDC, as Bill Gates used part of his keynote for the first public demo, showcasing its new user interface. The UI overhaul is intended to make it easier for users to employ the various features available within Office applications, such as by using "galleries" that present different format options from which users can choose -- even if they don’t know how to do the actual formatting. Another enhancement is I scream for every time Word changes fonts on me: less automatic formatting.

Patch Tuesday
The lone patch scheduled to be released on yesterday’s "Patch Tuesday" was scratched due to a quality issue. No word yet on whether Microsoft will release the patch before next month’s Patch Tuesday, assuming it can fix the problem before then.

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Get Yourself a HUG
The Microsoft Healthcare Users Group (MS-HUG), along with Microsoft, yesterday announced it has added a new category to its MS-HUG Annual Awards, to recognize healthcare solutions developed by Microsoft partners. The awards, for best solutions for a local or regional health information organization (RHIO), will be given in each of five categories: Acute Care: Clinical or Patient Information Systems; Administrative and Financial Systems; Ambulatory Care: Clinical or Patient Information Systems; Enabling Technologies; Interoperability/RHIO. Entries must be submitted by Nov. 11.

Awards can be an effective way for Microsoft Partners to gain visibility -- both with customers and with Microsoft itself -- as our story in the September issue of Redmond Channel Partner points out.

Partnering for Katrina Victims
The cover story for the inaugural issue of Redmond Channel Partner magazine was called "Partners Helping Partners." That would aptly apply to what’s going on in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The Austin, Dallas, Houston and Little Rock, Ark., chapters of the International Association of Microsoft Certified Partners (IAMCP) have raised nearly $20,000 so far and handed it off to the Louisiana IAMCP chapter to distribute to partners and others affected by Katrina. Microsoft is stepping up with free software to help businesses get up and running along with advertising dollars, to get the word out. More fundraisers are planned and U.S. IAMCP President Bill Breslin, who is based in Houston, is inviting other IAMCP chapters -- and any Microsoft partner -- to join the cause. Now that’s partners helping partners.

Posted by Paul Desmond on September 14, 2005 at 11:53 AM