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11 Takeaways from Microsoft's WPC

Another Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference is in the bag. Here are 11 key takeaways from the 2010 WPC:

1. Microsoft wants partners to be "all-in" on the cloud. Nearly everything was about cloud computing. That was a little weird for partners coming in from countries where BPOS and other offerings haven't rolled out yet, but pretty compelling for U.S. partners.

2. Keep an eye on the Windows Azure Appliance. The 900-server, private cloud enclosures are supposed to be coming this year from HP, Dell and Fujitsu -- extending Microsoft's cloud story.

3. Dynamics CRM Online. Margins jump to 40 percent in year one, and 6 percent recurring -- a huge bump from the old 18/6 mix. The offer is only guaranteed to be in place for a year. At the same time, partners are getting 250 Dynamics CRM Online seats for internal use.

4. Cloud Pack Essentials. A quick and dirty set of tools for partners to start moving their business onto the cloud.

5. Cloud Accelerate. A new badge to help born-on-the-cloud partners stand out.

6. Steve Ballmer seemed down. Kevin Turner was at the top of his aggressive game. Outgoing WPG CVP Allison Watson seemed wistful. New Worlwide Partner Group Corporate VP Jon Roskill was approachable.

7. Full speed ahead on the Microsoft Partner Network. New channel chief Roskill has no plans to pause the implementation. New benefits and requirements go online in October, barring technical complications.

8. Gold is back, sort of. The new Gold Certified Partner level will be out when MPN goes into full effect, but the Competencies and Advanced Competencies have been renamed Silver Competencies and Gold Competencies.

9. Microsoft is eyeing MSPs. With Windows InTune and future scaled-down Azure appliances, Microsoft is paying attention to the managed service provider market.

10. The heavy layoffs just ahead of WPC caused scheduling turmoil for partners and vendors, many of whose contacts were suddenly gone.

11. Nonetheless, partner enthusiasm was pretty high, with many partners telling us Microsoft seemed to have its mojo back. Partner attendance was huge at a reported 9,300 out of about 14,000 total attendees.

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 19, 2010 at 11:58 AM


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