BOSTON — July 12, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. opened the second day of the Microsoft® Worldwide Partner Conference 2006 by introducing several investments to drive opportunities for its industry partners. Microsoft has devoted an array of resources to boost partners’ profitability and make their success more measurable: People-Ready Business solutions to increase customer satisfaction, Partner Skills Plus to tackle the shortage of IT skills, and tools to address issues concerning partners including the evolution of software delivery.
Allison Watson, corporate vice president of the Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft, opened the day with a keynote presentation introducing the new Demo Showcase for People-Ready Business and Customer Campaigns. The Demo Showcase for People-Ready Business helps partners align sales and marketing efforts with the recently introduced Customer Campaigns, which embody business scenarios where people with the right software can make greater impact on an organization. The Customer Campaigns help partners address common customer pain points and offer differentiated solutions in areas ranging from mobile work-force solutions to application infrastructure optimization. The campaigns are geared toward business decision-makers and IT decision-makers, and align directly with competencies within the Microsoft Partner Program with the goal of helping partners continue to build connections with their customers.
“Microsoft’s products are a platform for partner products and services, creating unlimited opportunity for partners to service customers,” Watson said. "The Microsoft Partner Program competencies, People-Ready Business vision and the Customer Campaigns are the engagement vehicles for partners to snap into this opportunity, as well as the way Microsoft drives customers to partners that are positioned to best deliver on their unique needs compared with the competition. Now is the time to get partners into the marketplace with new products, new resources, better skills and more prospective customers.”
New Licensing and Pricing Options for Partners
To help partners sell more competitively, Microsoft is introducing enhancements to Volume Licensing and Microsoft Financing:
Continuing the March 2006 rollout of 18 new and enhanced Software Assurance benefits, Microsoft Windows® Fundamentals for Legacy PCs is now available to Software Assurance customers. Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs extends the security and stability of Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 to legacy PCs and eases the transition to Windows Vista™ Enterprise.
Partners play a key role in helping customers take advantage of the new Software Assurance benefits such as the partner consulting and training delivered through Desktop Deployment Planning Services, Information Work Solution Services, and the dramatically increased number of maximum training vouchers. One new benefit for Windows Vista Enterprise customers is the right to install four copies of the operating system in virtual machines on a desktop for a single user. This new benefit provides unique value for customers addressing application compatibility through virtualization. Responding to changing market conditions, Virtual PC 2004 SP1 is available immediately for free download. In addition, Virtual PC 2007, which supports Microsoft Windows Vista, will be available for free in 2007.
Later this summer, Microsoft will re-launch the Forrester ROI Software Assurance tool to include the new Software Assurance benefits, allowing customers to determine the value of the benefits they plan to use. As they engage with customers, partners can refer to this updated tool to educate them on the value of Microsoft’s maintenance offering.
Concurrently, Microsoft Financing is announcing that it will work with CIT Group Inc. (NYSE: CIT) to launch financing solutions in France and Switzerland and expand to other major global markets by the end of 2007. Partners now will also be able to take advantage of a new low-monthly-payment promotion called 6/50 to provide flexible financing solutions to customers and help them migrate to new Microsoft products. In addition, Microsoft is offering a full suite of marketing and readiness tools to help partners effectively integrate financing into their regular business practices.
Microsoft today will also announce a rollout of new updates to the Microsoft Product Licensing Advisor (MPLA), a tool that helps customers conduct initial research on their software needs, facilitate the discussion with partners, accelerate sales and enhance the overall experience. The tool will be localized in nine languages and helps connect customers with partners when they are ready to buy.
Microsoft Builds Servers and Tools and Security Offerings
In his keynote address, Microsoft Server and Tools Marketing Corporate Vice President Andy Lees announced product and solution offerings to help partners increase revenues, efficiency, security and agility:
Microsoft today announced the Branch Infrastructure Promotion, which includes Windows Server® 2003 R2, the Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server (ISA Server), Virtual Server 2005 R2 and System Center System Management Licenses, all for a 10 percent price discount on the total value of the solution. This will allow partners, including solution providers, systems integrators and VARs, to meet a critical customer need with an all-in-one solution.
Included in this new branch-office promotion is the ISA Server, Microsoft’s network edge security solution. ISA Server provides Windows Server customers with advanced policy-based protection for branch-office servers and clients, more efficient branch-office connectivity, and better protection internally and externally for their application infrastructure, services and data. In addition to helping protect customers from attacks, ISA provides an integrated virtual private networking (VPN), firewall and Web caching solution for better performance and bandwidth management.
On the security front, Microsoft today launched the Security Software Advisor (SSA) program, an incentive plan for partners that deploy and advise on the sale of Microsoft security products (https://partner.microsoft.com/40029032). The SSA program builds further value to Microsoft’s Security Solutions Competency, which is one of the fastest-growing competencies among Microsoft partners, and its newly unveiled portfolio of Forefront business security products. The Forefront group of products, along with the existing ISA Server and Antigen anti-virus and anti-spam products, provides partners with a strong foundation for a successful security practice.
To further extend the value of Windows Server solutions for midsize businesses, Microsoft has also announced the availability of the Microsoft Windows Server System™ Assessment and Deployment Solution for Midsize Businesses. The tool will help systems integrators reduce nonbillable hours in assessing prospective customers’ networks, automate infrastructure deployments, and reduce deployment complexities and risks.
Beginning Oct. 1, 2006, customers will be able to purchase Windows Server 2003 R2, Datacenter Edition, from Microsoft resellers and account managers on their Microsoft Volume Licensing agreement as well as from OEMs preinstalled on servers with two to 64 processors, with or without the Datacenter High Availability Program. Windows Server, Datacenter Edition, licenses will also include the right to run unlimited virtual instances on one server at no additional charge, which can potentially extend the savings customers can realize through server consolidation on the Windows Server platform.
Today, Microsoft also announced the new subscriber downloads site for TechNet Plus Subscriptions, which delivers resources and tools to help IT professionals succeed using Microsoft technology. TechNet Plus subscriptions are customizable to specific needs and can help increase ROI by maximizing IT staff productivity, minimizing IT infrastructure downtime and accelerating deployments.
At the conference Microsoft also discussed partner opportunity and growth across its application platform, a portfolio of core products, best-practice guidance and technology capability investments for the development, deployment and management of applications:
Microsoft announced an update to the SQL Server™ Competitive Migration Program. The upcoming update will include enhancements for partner solutions, migration tools to help partners transition customers to SQL Server 2005, and up to a 50 percent discount for migrating customers. Microsoft also recently released a second community technology preview of the SQL Server Migration Assistant for Sybase to help customers and partners migrate from legacy Sybase databases, supplementing the SQL Server Migration Assistant for Oracle.
Details were also given about strong momentum in the business process management partner ecosystem designed to help partners support Microsoft’s BizTalk® Server 2006 R2 release and extend its functionality with additional offerings such as rich process modeling and simulation, Microsoft Office system integration, and business rules analysis and design tools.
Microsoft also announced systems management offerings to help value-added resellers (VAR) and value-added providers (VAP) provide profitable remote monitoring and IT managed services business to small and midsize organizations:
Based on the System Center family of products, Microsoft is building a comprehensive managed services solution anchored by System Center Operations Manager 2007 and System Center Essentials 2007 technology. This combined solution creates a powerful platform with which VARs and VAPs can provide remote software update management, monitoring and troubleshooting of customer environments over a secure Internet connection to provide end-to-end management of the Windows Server System platform.
In addition, partners can resell licenses to System Center Essentials 2007 as an “attach” offering to their existing server infrastructure practice to increase their incremental revenue. System Center Essentials 2007 is a new management product built from the ground up to address the IT management needs of midsize businesses. Partners can deploy this integrated management solution at their customer infrastructure to provide end-to-end management of the Windows Server System platform.
About Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference
Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference provides Microsoft’s partner community with access to key marketing and business strategies, leadership, and information regarding specific customer solutions designed to help partners succeed in the marketplace. Along with informative learning opportunities covering sales, marketing, services and technology, the Worldwide Partner Conference is an ideal setting for partners to garner valuable knowledge from their peers and from Microsoft. More information can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/partner/events/wwpartnerconference.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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