Microsoft Windows 8, Windows Server 2012: Missed Opportunity
As Microsoft Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Office 2013 and Surface tablets near their respective launches, the software giant missed a strategic opportunity to engage channel partners at CompTIA Breakaway this week in Las Vegas. Here’s where Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) goofed.
Breakaway isn’t the biggest channel event. But it is strategic for many channel vendors and partners that are navigating multiple IT shifts — BYOD (tablets, smartphones), mobile, virtualization, cloud services and more. Main sessions at Breakaway were set for about 500 attendees — many vendors with plenty of MSPs and VARs mixed in.
The VAR Guy suspects lot of those channel partners grew up selling Microsoft Small Business Server, Exchange Server, SharePoint and more. Microsoft recently killed SBS development as it prepares Windows Server 2012 (with Hyper-V enhancements) and Office 365 cloud enhancements. In short: Microsoft needs to over-communicate with partners at major, vendor-neutral channel events like Breakaway.
During the recent Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, Channel Chief Jon Roskill and CEO Steve Ballmer both said the company needs the channel to succeed with its biggest portfolio of product launches since 1995. Then, Microsoft surprised attendees with Office 365 Open — a new approach that allows cloud partners to manage end-customer billing. Partners that heard the news at Worldwide Partner Conference stood up and cheered. Too bad Microsoft didn’t repeat it at Breakaway.
There’s a lot to like about Microsoft’s current partner strategy. For the first time in a really long time, Microsoft has products — or will soon deliver products — that appear to fill major gaps in key growing markets (smart phones, tablets, touch-based interfaces, enterprise-class virtualzation, etc.).
But none of that Microsoft messaging surfaced at Breakaway. During main-room sessions, VMware Channel Chief Doug Smith noted all the iPads and Google Android tablets that attendees were using to take notes. The moment begged for a comment from Microsoft — describing how the world’s largest software giant was going to work “insanely” closely with partners to disrupt Apple, Google and other rivals.
Alas, Microsoft wasn’t around to deliver that message to partners, channel pundits and media outlets like The VAR Guy, Business Solutions Magazine, ChannelPro SMB, eChannelLine, SMB Nation, The 2112 Group, and more.
The channel was here. Microsoft wasn’t…