Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference: 5 Questions Worth Asking
When The VAR Guy enters Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (July 13-16, New Orleans), our resident blogger hopes the software giant doesn’t require ID at the door; The VAR Guy prefers to travel incognito. Regardless, The VAR Guy plans to chase several cloud and SaaS (software as a service) channel stories at the conference. Here’s the scoop.
But first, a shameless side note: If you’d like to meet The VAR Guy at the Worldwide Partner Conference, send email to thevarguy [at] ninelivesmediainc.com.
What’s the Buzz?
Now, five key topics The VAR Guy plans to explore at the conference:
1. Windows Small Business Server 2008: How’s it selling? And how will it begin to integrate with various SaaS storage and security services?
IBM alleged that there’s tepid demand for Microsoft’s Small Business Server right now. Microsoft has since responded to IBM’s assertions. And thousands of SBS partners will be on hand at the Worldwide Partner Conference. The VAR Guy intends to lend them his ear.
2. Business Productivity Online Suite: If you’re keeping tabs on Microsoft, you know BPOS includes Exchange Online, Office Live Meeting, Office SharePoint Online and Office Communications Online.
No doubt, VARs and managed service providers are cashing in on SharePoint and hosted Exchange. But what’s the early feedback from partners on BPOS, and does Microsoft plan to make any adjustments to the BPOS reseller model?
3. Windows Azure: Microsoft says the cloud services operating system is a development, service hosting and service management environment. Hmmm. But exactly how can partners profit from Windows Azure? The VAR Guy will find some answers in New Orleans.
4. Software Plus Services: It’s time for The VAR Guy to see the forest (Microsoft’s big-picture SaaS strategy) from the trees (Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, etc.). Our resident blogger hopes to get a better big-picture understanding of Microsoft’s SaaS strategy and what it ultimately means to partners in terms of branding, positioning and recurring revenue.
5. Windows 7: Frankly, The VAR Guy doesn’t plan to spend much time covering Windows 7. Early buzz suggests it’s a solid, stable and faster-loading operating system when compared to Windows Vista.
Still, desktop operating systems no longer sit at the center of the IT universe, and healthy competition from Apple and Linux should continue. All that said, our resident blogger will check in with systems builders to see how they’re feeling about Windows 7.
There are smaller, point-product stories that The VAR Guy will pursue — such as the fate/future of Microsoft Response Point.
But ultimately, The VAR Guy thinks Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference will be a prime stage for the next act in Microsoft’s SaaS strategy.