Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference: Managed Services Central?

When Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference kicks off July 13 in New Orleans, I'll be digging hard from an update on the software giant's managed services partner strategy. Here's what I know (or think I know...) so far.

I remain surprised that Microsoft has not launched or white labeled an RMM (remote monitoring and management) or PSA (professional services automation) tool for VARs and MSPs.

Back in November 2008, Microsoft quietly held focus groups to discuss a managed services-oriented product that had "yet to be launched in the market. What became of that effort? Is a product on tap? Or was this merely an update to the Microsoft System Center strategy? Frankly, I'm not sure but I intend to get answers at the Worldwide Partner Summit.

In the meantime, Microsoft has been working with numerous MSP software providers -- partnering across on the ISV front. More recently, Microsoft was in Autotask's offices shooting some sort of ISV-related video.

And in recent weeks, Microsoft has been connecting the dots between managed services and Microsoft's own Software Plus Services strategy, even launching an MSP landing page within the Microsoft Partner Program web site.

We'll see if Microsoft's MSP effort continues in New Orleans. And if you'd like to meet at the show, send me email (joe at

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