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Major WPC Speakers Set, Session Details Delayed

Even as early-bird registration is off to an apparently fast start, the specifics for the keynotes and sessions in the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference are relatively sparse.

Microsoft is currently promising keynotes from CEO Steve Ballmer, COO Kevin Turner and Jon Roskill, corporate vice president of the Worldwide Partner Group. Ballmer and Turner are regular keynoters at WPC. Roskill stepped into Allison Watson's role during WPC last year, both as Microsoft's worldwide channel chief and as a combination keynoter and master of ceremonies for the week-long show.

Details of when the three executives will speak this year aren't yet listed on the Microsoft's Digital WPC site. The agenda currently has open slots for what Microsoft calls Vision Keynotes from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. each day on Monday, July 11; Tuesday, July 12; and Wednesday, July 13.

There are usually other speakers during the Vision Keynotes, as well, although Microsoft will have to look further to fill the spots. Three of five other keynotes from 2010 have either left or are leaving the company. Last year, partners heard keynotes from Brad Brooks, Stephen Elop, Andy Lees, Bob Muglia and Tami Reller. Elop left to take the reins at Nokia, Brooks joined Juniper Networks and Muglia is leaving Microsoft this summer.

Information on the WPC sessions, during which partners get the product roadmap and business best practice information that present a core part of the value of WPC, is slightly delayed, according to the WPC site. Microsoft had planned to post session descriptions on March 23 when early-bird registration went live, but the site information had still not been posted this morning. Microsoft also doesn't have information posted yet about what hands-on labs will be offered.

Nonetheless, most partners tell us they get more value out of the networking opportunities at WPC with peers, vendors and Microsoft partner account managers and other employees than from the content itself. A delay in content descriptions doesn't seem to be hampering early registrations.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is providing a detailed listing of more than two dozen tracks it will offer this year for partners.

Solution tracks include application platform, business productivity 2010, server and cloud, Microsoft Dynamics, Windows Phone and Windows: Accelerating Revenue Opportunities for Partner.

Business model tracks are developers, distributor, hosting infrastructure, ISV, LAR, learning solutions, OEM, reseller, system integrator/solution partner, software asset management, telco/managed services, and Web developer.

Customer segment and industries tracks include communications sector, enterprise partner, industry partner, public sector, and small- and midsize-business partner.

Professional development tracks cover business leadership, marketing, sales and innovation/design.

Microsoft is also offering a regional track for U.S. partners.

Posted by Scott Bekker on March 28, 2011 at 11:58 AM