Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference: 7 Day 1 Highlights
The VAR Guy spent most of today poking around the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC10), checking in with trusted sources and listening for channel chatter — especially chatter involving Microsoft’s SaaS and cloud computing strategies. Based on those conversations, here are seven highlights from Day One (Sunday, July 11) of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2010.
7. Big Numbers: Roughly 14,000 attendees — including 10,000 channel partners — have converged on the conference. Hmmm… For a company facing cloud and SaaS “challenges,” Microsoft still knows how to attract a big crowd.
6. Managed Services Arrive: There wasn’t much managed services buzz at last year’s WPC 2009, where Office 2010 and Windows 7 dominated Microsoft’s pitch. But MSP chatter at WPC 2010 seems a bit louder. Companies like Autotask, ConnectWise, Level Platforms and Quest Software (owner of PacketTrap) will make some noise here. Also, Autotask launched its Mid-Atlantic User Group earlier today at the conference. And Intel is reaching out to MSPs that may want to test the new Intel Hybrid Cloud.
5. Microsoft’s MSP Strategy: Some MSPs are here seeking answers to a central question: Will Microsoft Windows Intune, a new remote management platform, really target the managed services industry? Some Intune answers will surface this week. Others may not arrive until the Microsoft Management Summit (March 21-25, 2011).
4. Hosted Exchange Competition: Most folks know you can subscribe to hosted Exchange directly from Microsoft, using BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) and the Exchange Online platform.
But there are plenty hosted Exchange rivals in the market. A prime example: Intermedia now hosts more than 250,000 Exchange mailboxes, according to a company spokesperson. Senior VP of Sales and Business Development Robert Leibholz is here, and it sounds like Leibholz will be discussing Intermedia’s partner strategy for 2011. David Ehrhardt, CEO of Apptix, another hosted Exchange specialist, also is in the house.
The VAR Guy needs to ask Apptix and Intermedia if VARs and MSPs can continue to profit from hosted Exchange reseller agreements. Also, has the shift to hosted unified communications started?
3. Press Re-dial: Can Microsoft regain credibility in the smart phone market? The answer hinges on Windows Phone 7, which Microsoft will aggressively demonstrate at the conference. Some research suggests software developers should bet first on Apple iPhone and Google Android. But it sounds like Microsoft’s Todd Brix will describe how developers can monetize smart phone applications through a so-called Windows Phone Marketplace… The VAR Guy will dig for more Windows Phone 7 details.
2. Windows SBS Meets the Cloud: Microsoft seems to be rebooting Windows Small Business Server (SBS) for cloud computing. Partners like Intel, Lenovo and Level Platforms seem to be assisting the effort. Here are the details.
Stay tuned. The VAR Guy is checking in with sources like Dave Sobel, CEO of Evolve Technologies. Sobel declined comment this weekend, but it sounds like he might have some SBS cloud perspectives when The VAR Guy sits down with him later this week.
1. The Right Stuff?: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is set to keynote Monday morning, July 12. But most eyes are on new Microsoft Channel Chief Jon Roskill. Is Roskill ready to transform Microsoft’s product-reselling channel into a cloud channel? And how will partners profit? Plus, how will Roskill balance Microsoft’s channel cloud efforts with Ballmer’s direct sales efforts against Google Apps?
Some answers may surface this week. Stay tuned for multiple daily updates from Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2010.