Microsoft Executives Emphasize New Partner Opportunities
July 08, 2008
As part of software plus services platform strategy, a new business model opens doors to revenue streams for partners.

HOUSTON — July 8, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. today kicked off the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2008 with the announcement of a new pricing and partner model for Microsoft Online Services, a key component of its software plus services initiative. Additional announcements focused on its overall investment in delivering innovation and creating partner opportunities.

“Partners have always been at the core of Microsoft’s business model, and that will never change,” said Allison L. Watson, corporate vice president of the Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft. “Today we are excited to announce new business models for our Online offerings, which will drive opportunity and profitability for our partners, while delivering incredible value and choice for customers.”

Software Plus Services Strategy Includes New Business Models for Partners

During the opening keynote address, Stephen Elop, president of the Microsoft Business Division, announced the pricing and partner model for two new suites of subscription services as part of the Microsoft Online Services family, which delivers software as a subscription service managed from a Microsoft datacenter and sold by partners. With Microsoft Online Services, customers have the option to access messaging, collaboration and communications software over the Internet. These services will be sold as a suite or as stand-alone products with prices starting as low as $3 (U.S.) per month.

“Our vision is that everything you can do with our onsite servers, you will be able to do with our online services,” Elop said. “For partners, it’s about the differentiated value they can deliver on top of our services, as well as providing them with an ongoing revenue stream. There is incredible partner opportunity at every level — integration, migration, customization, consulting services and managed services. Microsoft Online Services provides stability and an opportunity to create long-term customer relationships.”

Under the new business model, partners selling the two suites will receive 12 percent of the first-year contract value with a recurring revenue stream of 6 percent of the subscription fee every year for the life of the customer contract. Additional information can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/jul08/07-08BOSGWPCAPR.mspx.

To help partners get the guidance for discovery, enrollment and activation of the two suites, a new program was announced called Quickstart for Microsoft Online Services. Any partner can take advantage of the new business model, and hosting partners that already participate in models like this will have expanded opportunities to offer choice and flexibility to their customers for online services of all types. To join Quickstart, partners can visit http://www.quickstartonlineservices.com.

New Partner Resources for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

Building on the success of its Early Access program involving 200 partners, and the general availability in April 2008 of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, Microsoft is announcing a program expansion and readiness tool:

  • The Microsoft Partner Program will provide discounts to qualified partners in the U.S. and Canada for use of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online in their own organizations. The discounted price is $19 (U.S.) per user per month and will be available in fall 2008.

  • The new Microsoft Dynamics CRM ISV SaaS Readiness tool extends Microsoft’s INNOVATE ON program, helping ISVs evolve their on-premise solutions into on-demand services.

Major Partner Opportunity Announcements Abound at WPC

In addition to significant new software plus services announcements to support customer and partner choice and flexibility, Microsoft is announcing an entire spectrum of new partner opportunities: across the fast-growing unified communications platform, the range of opportunities for Microsoft Windows and small businesses, a new Mobile Readiness program to help partners take advantage of the burgeoning mobility space, and new licensing and financing programs to help partners improve their customers’ purchasing experience with more flexible, predictable and manageable options. More information on expanded partner opportunities from Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration to Microsoft Office Live Small Business is in the accompanying fact sheet at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/events/wwpc/docs/PartnerOpportunityFS.doc.

Partners and Customers Embrace Unified Communications

Over the past year, Microsoft has witnessed widespread adoption of its unified communications platform and products, including Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. Microsoft Office Communications Server alone has experienced triple-digit business growth over the last two quarters year over year, is licensed to thirty-five percent of Fortune 500 companies, and partners are recognizing the opportunity:

  • More than 150 partners have achieved the Voice specialization.

  • More than 2,500 partner companies have achieved the Unified Communications Solutions competency.

  • More than 90 companies have joined the Notes Transition Partner Program to assist businesses that are migrating to the Microsoft platform.

As part of Microsoft’s unified communications approach, Microsoft subsidiary Tellme Networks Inc. is launching a new partner strategy for enterprise contact center partners that will allow Tellme to scale its business and bring improved speech-enabled solutions to enterprise customers. As a first step, Tellme and SpeechCycle Inc. announced an alliance where SpeechCycle will use Tellme’s platform for on-demand speech applications. Additional information can be found at http://www.tellme.com/business.

Software Innovation Continues to Deliver Partner Opportunity for Windows Vista

Since the launch of Windows Vista, the Windows partner ecosystem has changed dramatically. Today, more than 77,000 devices and components — more than twice as many as at launch — are currently supported, which provides Windows Vista users with a rich variety of hardware and software options to help personalize their experience. As the compatibility experience continues to improve, partners are better able to help customers experience the best of Windows Vista.

Microsoft today introduced the Windows Vista Compatibility Center (WVCC) beta. Through this new compatibility tool, Microsoft will work to solicit continuous feedback from consumers and partners to ensure that their purchase and adoption experience remains positive long after their migration to Windows Vista. The WVCC has been designed to help this audience easily identify the products and devices that are compatible with Windows Vista. The WVCC can be found at http://www.windows.com/compatibility.

Microsoft also announced Windows Vista Small Business Assurance, a resource for partners to assist small-business customers interested in migrating from Windows XP to Windows Vista. The program provides free technical support so small businesses can get the most out of their Windows Vista experience while resolving any technical or compatibility issues. Customers purchasing new PCs with Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2008, are eligible for the program, and support will be available until Oct. 31, 2008. Both offerings are currently available in the U.S. only. Further details are available at http://www.windows.com/assurance.

To continue driving partner opportunity, Microsoft today announced the BizTalk Adapter Pack 2.0, which enables partners to create value-added solutions for line-of-business system interoperability (such as with SAP R/3, Siebel eBusiness Suite and Oracle E-Business Suite) with any .NET Framework-based application. In addition, partners can rapidly develop and market full-fledged interoperable adapters to complement the Microsoft offering using the Windows Communication Foundation Line of Business Adapter SDK, allowing customers to connect mission-critical data across applications.

Increasing Mobility Opportunities for Partners

Microsoft’s SMB customers have reported that among network devices, smartphones will constitute their largest growth area in the next five years. To help reseller partners prepare for this, Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business unveiled today the Mobile Readiness Program, which will address resellers with four components:

  • The Get Mobile Ready initiative offers Microsoft consulting to small and midsize resellers.

  • The Try and Buy initiative deploys Microsoft mobility solutions within resellers to create SMB mobility experts around the globe and help partners showcase the technology in action.

  • The Microsoft Partner Program Mobility Competency is a full-scale resource to train and certify resellers that are ready to take the next step in mobility.

  • Finally, Microsoft distributors worldwide are offering solutions to help resellers provide their SMB customers with a ready-made package of mobility offerings at a competitive price.

Improving the Purchasing Experience

As part of ongoing effort to improve the overall purchasing experience for both customers and partners, Microsoft announced a new Volume Licensing program last week called Select Plus for large organizations with multiple business affiliates. At the conference, Microsoft is announcing additional updates to the Open Value program for small and midsize customers and Microsoft Financing solutions for customers of all sizes to help them balance growing technology needs with more flexible, manageable and predictable purchasing. Select Plus, together with the other program updates, will allow partners to build deeper customer relationships with options to meet customers’ unique needs. More information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2008/jul08/07-07QAmatz.mspx.

More information about the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference is available on the virtual event site at http://partner.microsoft.com/digitalwpc. Visitors can watch select keynote addresses live or on demand, register to view sessions, and learn more about the news and events coming out of the conference.

About the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference

The Microsoft 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 https://partner.microsoft.com/US/trainingevents/wwpartnerconference and on the Partner Program home page at https://partner.microsoft.com.

About Microsoft

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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