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Partners take centre stage as Microsoft introduces new channel initiatives

2 September, 2009 | Gold Coast, Australia

Today, at the 2009 Australian Partner Conference on the Gold Coast, Microsoft announced a range of new products and programs designed to underpin a revamp of the company's local partner program and to help secure the ongoing success of Microsoft's partner community. The announcements follow in the footsteps of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in July, where the company introduced the Microsoft Partner Network, the next generation of its partner program.

Key among the announcements today was the launch of Microsoft Online Services in Australia. The new offering delivers a suite of Microsoft's best known business communications and collaboration software products as subscription services, hosted by Microsoft in the 'cloud', and offered to customers of all sizes in Australia. Microsoft Online Services creates new opportunities for partners to resell, customise and provide consulting, migration and managed services for customers.

Other measures announced by Microsoft today include:

New National and State advisory panels

Microsoft has introduced new partner panels to help encourage and facilitate two-way dialogue between the company and its 11,000-strong partner community. Six new panels, comprised of a national body and five State-based panels, will provide partners with a more formalised voice into Microsoft. The panels will act as advisory bodies to help optimise the programs, tools and support Microsoft has in place for the channel. The panels will also help shape and define the company's sales and marketing strategies. Microsoft today invited expressions of interest from partners who are interested in sitting on the panels.

PinPoint a Partner announced

Microsoft also announced the Australian availability of PinPoint, due in early 2010. Microsoft Australia is only the 4th country to implement the online marketplace which will helps customers find the experts, products and services they need. PinPoint is an enhanced web-based offering to help connect Microsoft customers with the right Partner. Additionally partners are able to receive and qualify leads by showcasing their offerings and providing measures to help them respond to customer enquiries.

Reduced Action Pack pricing

Microsoft has reduced the price of its Action Pack Subscription from AUD$699 to AUD$396 for digital download. Physical media will also be available at the reduced price of $660. The move reflects the company's response to Partner feedback.
Microsoft Action Pack provides registered members of the Microsoft Partner Network with internal-use, full-version software and sales resources to help partners meet their sales goals, stay competitive and grow their business.

Paul Voges, SMB and Partner Group Director, Microsoft Australia, said 2009 had been an unprecedented year in which the economic climate had proven to be a true test of character for Microsoft and its partners.
"Surviving the downturn came down to demonstrating the absolute value of technology in helping our customers run their businesses more effectively and efficiently, while managing costs," said Mr Voges.

"As we move into the new financial year, Microsoft is resolute in its focus on bringing innovative, new product offerings and services to the market.

Starting with Windows 7 and Microsoft Online Services, over the next 12 months we'll roll out an unparalleled wave of new software, which will provide our partners with a suite of new offerings around which to anchor and grow their businesses.

"Moreover, we're introducing a host of new programs, like the Microsoft Partner Network, to help grow the vibrancy and success our partner community."

Australian Partner Conference provides Microsoft's partner community with the knowledge, tools and resources to help them expand their business and support their customers. Along with informative learning opportunities covering sales, marketing, services and technology, Australian Partner Conference is an ideal setting for partners to garner valuable knowledge from their peers and from Microsoft.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.

For further information please contact:

Ben Tan
Microsoft Australia
0418 488 827

Carrie Ponder
0420 635 495


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