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Microsoft Kicks Off Worldwide Partner Conference

The centerpiece of Microsoft's partner year, the Worldwide Partner Conference, gets underway today with a kickoff keynote by CEO Steve Ballmer.

With the official name "Velocity," the conference has the theme "driving your business forward fast and profitably." Sub-themes include positioning the Microsoft platform and your solutions to targeted customer needs; learning about Microsoft's technology plans and competitive strengths; and successful business models tailored to specific businesses.

According to Microsoft, more than 7,000 partners from 50 countries are attending the four-day conference in Boston. Attendees will have more than 160 sessions to pick from among seven tracks -- distributor, enterprise, ISV, Microsoft Business Solutions, mid-market, small business and OEM/system builder.

Each of the first three days has a theme. Today's is the 2007 Office System and Windows Vista. Aside from Ballmer and Allison Watson, the corporate vice president of the Worldwide Partner Group, keynote speakers on Tuesday will focus on partner opportunities in the launches of Windows Vista and the Microsoft Office 2007 system. Mike Sievert, corporate vice president of Windows Client Marketing will talk about Vista and Chris Capossela, corporate vice president for the Information Worker Product Management Group will discuss Office 2007.

The theme Wednesday is "business applications, platforms, server, and tools." Keynote speakers are Andy Lees, corporate vice president for Server and Tools Marketing; Sanjay Parthasarathy, corporate vice president for the Developer and Platform Evangelism Group; and Satya Nadella, corporate vice president for Microsoft Business Solutions, who will outline opportunities and strategies in the Dynamics business applications area.

On Thursday, the keynotes will focus on segment strategies and opportunities in the Microsoft roadmap. Watson; Simon Witts, corporate vice president for the Enterprise and Partner Group; and Rick Devenuti, senior vice president for Microsoft Services & IT, will issue specific calls-to-action for partners. In the closing keynote, partners will hear from COO Kevin Turner, who recently acquired management of much of the partner organization when the Small and Midsize Solutions and Partners group was shifted into his organization.

Keep checking back on our new blog. Anne Stuart, Lee Pender and I will be here in Boston all week to bring you updates from the show. After the conference, we'll keep working to make this blog a premiere source for timely independent news and information for Microsoft partners.

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 11, 2006 at 11:57 AM


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