Microsoft Response Point: Attending Worldwide Partner Conference 2009?
Will Microsoft continue forward or pull the plug on Response Point — a small business VoIP phone system? The answer could be known on June 30, when Microsoft is expected to host a Response Point Town Hall Meeting for VARs. But here’s a clue about the situation: A source close to Microsoft says Response Point will have limited to no presence at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2009 (WPC09). Here’s the scoop.
First, a little background. During much of 2009, Microsoft evangelized Response Point to small business VARs that were seeking simple VoIP systems for their customers. In fact, the Response Point team attended such events as the HTG Peer Group Summit in April 2009 and the SMB Nation conference in May. The VAR Guy even heard about a Canadian solution provider that was generating recurring revenue promoting Response Point and a related online service to customers.
But apparently, Response Point only had a niche following. During company-wide Microsoft layoffs in May, portions of the Response Point team were let go. Plus, the official Response Point blog contained vague, confusing statements about Microsoft’s future commitment to Response Point. Finally, Microsoft scheduled an update for VARs, which will occur on June 30.
On the upside, there are indicates that Microsoft’s John Frederiksen is continuing to lead some sort of Response Point effort forward. On the downside, The VAR Guy hears Response Point will have little to no presence at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2009 (WPC09), which starts July 13 in New Orleans.
But let’s keep things in perspective. Response Point was basically a start-up within Microsoft. Alas, some start-ups don’t live up to expectations and/or need strategy changes. And regardless of Response Point’s fate, Microsoft still maintains some very popular solutions for VARs — from Small Business Server to SharePoint. And there are signs that Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite is catching on with the channel.
Still, some VARs will be disappointed if Microsoft doesn’t move forward with the anticipated Response Point 2.0 release. Apparently, we’ll get some answers on June 30.