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MPN Cloud Competency Fees Going Up Oct. 1

Microsoft's subsidy program to attract partners to the five strategic cloud competencies in the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) will end later this month.

The move will raise annual U.S. partner fees for gold cloud competencies by $790 and silver cloud competencies by $140. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on September 19, 2017 at 10:34 AM0 comments


Can Cortana-Alexa Alliance Lead Digital Voice Assistants from Gimmickry to Utility?

A few years ago, I remember thinking that if Siri, Cortana and their digital voice assistant peers aspired to be more than gimmicks, their corporate parents would need to teach them to play nice with each other.

Few people live their entire digital lives on one platform. As an example, Cortana can be deeply integrated into your Microsoft-based work life, Siri into the iOS part of your personal life, Google Assistant into the Android portion of your personal life and Alexa into your shopping existence. Getting those assistants talking could open a lot of possibilities to simplify and unify things, rather than complicating and compartmentalizing them. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on August 31, 2017 at 9:05 AM0 comments


IT Industry Poised To Help in Harvey's Wake

Vendors and solution providers were poised to help in Hurricane Harvey's wake as the record-rain-producing storm made its third, and what looked like its final, pass at the Texas-Louisiana coast Wednesday.

Harvey first struck the Texas coast on Friday night, and as it lingered the storm dumped more than 50 inches of rain in some places, causing deep flooding over a wide area including Houston. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on August 30, 2017 at 11:38 AM0 comments


Rackspace Rolls Out First Partner Incentives

Rackspace made a big commitment to its partner program this week with the introduction of the company's first-ever partner incentive.

The initial incentive covers Rackspace's strategic tier of partners who sell between $10,000 and $150,000 in monthly recurring revenue for deals covering dedicated hosting services, such as Rackspace Managed Security or Rackspace Private Cloud Powered by Microsoft, VMware or OpenStack. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on August 29, 2017 at 3:31 PM0 comments


With AD Integration, Could Chrome Enterprise Interest More Microsoft Partners?

A new version of Chrome OS called Chrome Enterprise aims to make the Google operating system more attractive to business customers in a way that could also make Chrome more of a fit for Microsoft-centric channel partners.

Among many new business management features of Chrome Enterprise, one of the marquee changes is integration with on-premises Active Directory, a first for the 8-year-old Chrome OS, which was primarily designed for cloud-only management solutions. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on August 23, 2017 at 4:14 PM0 comments


Intel Launches 8th Gen Core Processors

Intel on Monday launched the first of its 8th Gen Intel Core processors, with the initial group of chips intended to power ultrathin notebooks and two-in-ones for small businesses and consumers.

The roadmap calls for 8th Gen processors to arrive for desktop computers in the fall, with enterprise, workstation and enthusiast notebook and desktop systems coming later. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on August 21, 2017 at 9:59 AM0 comments


Microsoft Cloud a 'Tempting Target' for Attacks

A new Microsoft security report released this week quantifies a longstanding concern about big cloud services, namely that hyperscale clouds appeal to attackers like banks attract robbers.

After all, the Microsofts, Amazon Web Services and Googles of the world are increasingly where the users and data are. The bet by customers and the industry on big clouds is that in the arms race between attackers and defenders, the risks of putting all the data under only a few vendors' control can be outweighed by the high-quality people and processes the hyperscale vendors will be able to afford. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on August 18, 2017 at 11:45 AM0 comments


Kaseya Traverse 9.5 Set for September Release

The next version of Kaseya's Traverse tool will feature an enhanced visualization interface, more powerful automation profiles, and new remote control integration for the network monitoring and management platform for managed service providers (MSPs) and mid-market IT departments.

Kaseya unveiled Traverse version 9.5 on Tuesday. Currently in the final release candidate stage, the new version is expected to reach general availability at the beginning of September. It will follow the previous release, 9.4, by about 10 months. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on August 08, 2017 at 10:18 AM0 comments


Trouble in Detachable Tablet Land?

Now that Apple is out with its earnings, IDC has the critical iPad data necessary to refresh its assessment of the worldwide quarterly tablet market.

The short version is a decline in quarter-over-quarter tablet shipments of 3.4 percent. Total units shipped for the second calendar quarter of 2017 were 37.9 million. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on August 03, 2017 at 8:47 AM0 comments


Microsoft 365 Business Hits Public Preview

Microsoft's net new licensing package for small businesses, called Microsoft 365 Business, is now in public preview.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella unveiled Microsoft 365 last month at the Microsoft Inspire partner conference in Washington, D.C., as a combination of key parts of Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS). More

Posted by Scott Bekker on August 02, 2017 at 1:26 PM0 comments


Bounties Boosted for Busting Windows

Microsoft, an industry foot-dragger to bug bounties, seems satisfied with the results of the programs over the last few years.

The company has been offering financial rewards for the white hats who find security flaws in its products since 2012, with sporadic increases in bounty amounts and products covered, as well as occasional pop-up opportunities to find problems in select software, such as technical previews, before a specific deadline. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 27, 2017 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Gartner to Office 365 Partners: Go Vertical and Enhance Teams, Graph, Cortana and Power BI

Microsoft recently posted the full text of a lengthy report on Office 365 by independent analysts at Gartner. In it, Gartner's Craig Roth, Joe Mariano, Michael Woodbridge and Steve Crawford analyze Office 365 for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).

The whole report is worth reading for a lot of insights on the technology, market forces and usage trends. Of special note to the Microsoft channel are the lengthy sections on the Office 365 partner and ISV ecosystems. After leveling criticism at Microsoft's previous approaches, including direct sales under the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) and the syndication program, Gartner repeatedly lauds Microsoft's Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) approach as a solid strategy and notes that 20,000 partners have signed up as CSPs. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 25, 2017 at 12:25 PM0 comments