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Good Partner News In Cert Roadmap

Microsoft on Tuesday released its certification roadmap and it includes some good news for partners. Exams and credentials will map more neatly to Microsoft Partner Program competency requirements and the same exams will qualify for both partner requirements as well as MCP program requirements. There will also be more certs to choose from, including five new ones for SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006.

Centeris Joins Linux-Windows Interop Fray
Another company launched this week with the intention of getting customers with mixed Microsoft-Linux environments to stop pulling their hair out. Centeris is offering tools for managing and configuring Linux systems from the Microsoft Management Console. Linux-Windows integration looks to be an area ripe for partners to pick up services work, as competitors including Quest have made it clear they’re looking for more partners to help install their wares.

R2 Nears Completion
Windows Server 2003 R2 is getting ever closer to shipping, as Microsoft this week posted the second release candidate of the OS. Among the key new features in R2 is the ability to integrate Active Directory with other identity management systems through Web services, along with centralized backup and better availability.

Analysts Report Strong PC Sales
This has to be good news for partners: Gartner and IDC are both reporting that PC sales were up 17 percent during the third quarter versus last year. They differ slightly on exactly how many PCs were shipped, but it appears the industry is on track to sell well over 200 million PCs this year.

All Abuzz About BI
Microsoft is doing its best to create some buzz around the theme of business intelligence (BI), with much of it centered on the forthcoming release of SQL Server 2005. On Monday, Jeff Raikes hosted a Webcast for press and analysts to talk up the theme, noting all the new BI capabilities that will be built into various Office 12 applications. Much sooner, on Nov. 1, the company will release Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005, a server-based business scorecarding application intended to help customers track the performance of their organizations against predefined goals. Helping your customers implement business scorecards and other BI capabilities is yet another way that you can position yourself as a strategic partner, not just a technology resource. Scott Bekker has a piece on the Raikes Webcast on our sister site, ENTmag.com.

Scary Stories of Identity Theft
I know identity theft is a huge problem -- one that your clients should certainly be concerned about if they hold any kind of confidential information on their customers, or even themselves. But this first-person account of a reporter’s own experience with identity theft -- and the thief responsible for it -- made me more concerned than ever. “It's just so easy. I could have made a million dollars a year easily,” the thief told the St. Petersburg Times reporter. “Say I mow your grass, and you write me a check. I could then empty your account in a day. All I need is that account number and routing number." Alas, the thief had a nasty drug habit that prevented him from really dedicating himself to his craft. Now pardon me while I go burn all my check books.

This Week’s Break From the Grind
It takes a certain degree of insanity to stand in a rushing river in upstate New York in late October. To do so with not a stitch of clothes on raises it up a notch. But to do all that with the intention of securing yourself on the brink of Niagara Falls -- for 24 hours -- puts you in elite company indeed. It also gets you arrested, of course.

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This column was originally published in our weekly Redmond Partner Update newsletter. To subscribe, click here.

Fond Farewell
With that, I bid you all farewell, as this will be my last Partner Update newsletter. I am leaving my post as editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine at the end of this week. Scott Bekker, currently news editor of Redmond magazine and editor of ENTmag.com, will take over as editor in chief and will occupy this space from here on. You’ll be in good hands with Scott, as he is a seasoned Microsoft reporter and editor. Drop him a note of welcome and congrats at sbekker@rcpmag.com.

I’ll be returning to the independent life from whence I came. It’s been a pleasure launching Redmond Channel Partner magazine as well as this newsletter and getting to know many of you. I wish you all the best as you seek to help customers make the most productive use possible of the technology at their disposal. If you care to reach me, I’ll be at paul@pdedit.com.

Posted by Paul Desmond on October 26, 2005 at 11:53 AM