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The WPC Speaker Lineup

For several months leading up to the show, Microsoft kept the speaker lineup fairly vague -- WPC regulars Steve Ballmer, Allison Watson and Kevin Turner were the only speakers committed. Now a full speaker slate is available for the keynotes each morning, and it reveals some interesting things about the messages Microsoft wants to convey to its partners. First, the schedule:

Tuesday, July 8:

  • Allison Watson, corporate vice president, Worldwide Partner Group
  • Stephen Elop, president, Microsoft Business Division
  • Brad Brooks, corporate vice president, Windows Consumer Product Marketing
  • Andy Lees, senior vice president, Mobile Communications Business

Wednesday, July 9:

  • Allison Watson
  • Simon Witts, corporate vice president, Enterprise and Partner Group
  • Bob Kelly, corporate vice president, Infrastructure Server Marketing
  • Steven Ballmer, CEO

Thursday, July 10:

  • Allison Watson
  • Kevin Turner, COO

This lineup includes some real gems for the channel. Elop, the new head of the Microsoft Business Division replacing Jeff Raikes, is a very high-level product executive for a partner conference. His role encompasses both Dynamics and Office, and his speech will give partners a chance to take the measure of the new guy.

It will be good to have Witts back, presumably with his usual outline of enterprise partner initiatives for the fiscal year. Brooks will bring the Windows product group perspective, while Kelly will bring the all-important-to-infrastructure-partners server product message. Lees' presence indicates that Microsoft wants partners pushing hard on mobility this year.

There are two holes big enough to drive a truck through in the lineup, though. A major theme of the show, given the session descriptions, is "Software + Services." No Ray Ozzie or anyone whose job is associated with those Microsoft online services efforts will be there to talk partners through the big picture.

The other missing piece, and this may be related, is the usual keynote from Microsoft Services. Last year it was Maria Martinez, and the year before it was Rick Devenuti. Each walked partners through the Microsoft consulting and services strategy, clearly laying out what Microsoft does and how and why that shouldn't interfere with partners' businesses. Maybe the whole issue of Software + Services will be taken up as a major theme in the Watson and/or Ballmer keynotes. I hope so. We need a big picture view, and soon.

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 01, 2008 at 11:58 AM