Microsoft Channel Chief Allison Watson is taking on a new role at the software giant, opening the door for Jon Roskill (pictured) to assume Watson's former role as corporate VP for the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group. The Microsoft Channel Chief move comes less than three weeks before the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2010. Here are the details.

The VAR Guy

June 24, 2010

jon roskill microsoft channel chief

Microsoft Channel Chief Allison Watson is taking on a new role at the software giant, opening the door for Jon Roskill (pictured) to assume Watson’s former role as corporate VP for the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group. The Microsoft Channel Chief move comes less than three weeks before the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2010. Here are the details.

Effective July 1, Watson will become corporate vice president of the Business & Marketing Organization in the U.S. Roskill, meanwhile steps into the channel chief role, reporting to Vahé Torossian, corporate vice president of the Worldwide Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners (SMS&P) Group. Vahe recently joined SMS&P from his previous role overseeing Microsoft’s sales, marketing and operations in Central and Eastern Europe, Microsoft says.

The Microsoft spokesperson says both Roskill and Watson are confirmed to speak at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, which starts July 11 in Washington, D.C.

The channel chief change comes amid an IT market inflection point: Even as Microsoft aggressively promotes Windows 7 and Office 2010 to channel partners, CEO Steve Ballmer has been evangelizing an “all in” cloud strategy to partners and end-customers. Baller’s words sound very similar to Bill Gates’ Internet mandate from the 1990s. Looking ahead, there are at least 5 ways Roskill can potentially accelerate Microsoft’s SaaS and cloud channel strategy.

Watson discussed Microsoft’s cloud crusade in March 2010, promoting SaaS and hosted application opportunities to channel partners in these two FastChat Videos with The VAR Guy…

Video 1: Allison Watson on Microsoft and the Cloud

Video 2: Allison Watson on Microsoft and the Cloud

Heeeere’s Johnny…

Now, Jon Roskill will continue the cloud channel push. According to a prepared statement from Microsoft:

“In his previous role leading the U.S. Business & Marketing Organization, Roskill led cross-company marketing campaigns for Microsoft’s commercial products such as Windows and Microsoft Office, and played a major role in bringing the company’s cloud computing efforts to market over the past year.”

No doubt, Roskill faces a range of challenges. On the one hand, he must continue to actively promote Microsoft’s well-received Windows 7 and Office 2010 launches. But on the other hand, he needs to find ample time to design and promote channel cloud opportunities that head off Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Amazon Web Services and a range of other disruptive companies.

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