Top Six Rumors at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference
The VAR Guy awoke from a deep sleep this morning, reflected briefly on his recent vacation, and then proceeded to Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2011 in Los Angeles. CEO Steve Ballmer provided plenty of updates during his keynote. But here are the top six rumors The VAR Guy has heard off stage at the conference.
7. Tick, Tick: There are 1,000 days until Microsoft ends support for Windows XP. Microsoft is urging partners to move customers to Windows 7 now while preparing them for the future arrival of Windows 8 — which features the touch-based interface.
6. Changing Nation: It sounds like SMB Nation will soon name a new president reporting into CEO Harry Brelsford. Also, some sort of cloudNation site could be announced as soon as this week — perhaps here at the conference. Just a rumor, though. Still checking it out. Meanwhile, SMB Nation Business Development Manager Matt Makowicz is leaving to start a venture called VARTrek, which aims to help organizations with partner development and onboarding.
5. Big Winners: Anybody else notice Microsoft’s 2011 Partner of the Year awards included 36 honorees in the Microsoft Dynamics channel? Yup, Microsoft put the spotlight on three dozen Dynamics partners — a strong indication that Dynamics will gain a larger and larger spotlight within Microsoft’s channel organization.
4. Champions Honored: Microsoft continues to polish its VAR Champions Club and Cloud Champions Club. The Cloud Champions Club includes 280 partners that have engaged over 70,000 users of Microsoft Online Services. Meanwhile, the VAR Champions Club represents the top 5 percent of Microsoft channel partners in the U.S. The Cloud Champions Club may take on some more characteristics of the VAR Champions Club, The VAR Guy believes. Perhaps we’ll get some details during a July 14 keynote from Cindy Bates, Microsoft’s VP of US small and medium business and distribution.
3. Lync Summit?: Microsoft may launch a dedicated conference for Lync, the unified communications and collaboration platform. Nothing is official yet. But the Lync partner management team is mulling the conference idea…
2. Cloud Compensation: It sounds like Microsoft is adjusting its cloud compensation payment schedule to channel partners. Instead of paying cloud partners quarterly, it sounds like Microsoft will now pay partners monthly. The VAR Guy doesn’t have confirmed details. This nugget of info should be considered a rumor for now.
1. Check the Headline: The VAR Guy tends to write top six lists. Always has. Always will. So there is no number one, which leaves The VAR Guy enough time to sign off and head to his next meeting here at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2011.