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Microsoft Stores: The Small Business Microsoft Technology Center

Most Microsoft partners serving small-business customers know without being told that the Microsoft Technology Centers are not designed for them or their customers.

Peruse the case studies for the 11 MTCs in the United States and they're mostly enterprise engagements, with National Systems Integrators or Global Systems Integrators and MTC staff guiding enterprise customers through complex proof-of-concepts with Microsoft software and high-end gear from Dell, HP, Brocade, EMC, Emulex, Brocade, NetApp, Emerson and APC.

Still, executives on Microsoft's U.S. SMB team think they've found a way for the large community of small-business-focused partners to leverage Microsoft facilities to reach their customers.

Their answer: Leverage the network of Microsoft Stores, currently at 20 locations with a roadmap to 75 locations in the near future.

During a keynote at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto last week, Cindy Bates, vice president, U.S. SMB and Distribution at Microsoft, described the facilities available to partners at each store.

"Each store has space for a theater, a customer theater that seats 45, has a 103-inch screen, and this is free for you to use. You can use it for demos, customer meetings and each store has a business development manager, who now is thinking about how to connect with partners in their local area," Bates said. "This is a great way to actually display Microsoft's technology. All the great form factors, the phone, particularly with the launch, all the Windows 8 devices are going to be there in the store."

Bates said that for now the only requirement for a partner to use a Microsoft Store for an event is membership in the Microsoft Partner Network. (She hinted that at some point in the future the new Small Business Competency might become a requirement.)

"This is a resource that we want to make sure that all of you are aware of and taking advantage of," Bates said.

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 19, 2012


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