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Microsoft touts channel opportunities

by Stuart Wilson, Tuesday 10 July 2012

Vendor giant Microsoft kicked off its worldwide partner conference yesterday. CEO Steve Ballmer told channel delegates about product milestones and opportunities for partners as Microsoft entered a ‘new era’. The four-day partner conference aims to recognise the achievements of Microsoft’s 640,000 partners worldwide and give delegates a glimpse of what to expect in the year ahead.

“This will be the biggest product and services launch year in our company’s history, creating massive opportunities for our partners to grow their businesses,” Ballmer said. “With Windows — Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Azure — and Office 365, there’s never been a better time to be a Microsoft partner. The opportunities for us to do amazing things for our joint customers have never been greater.”

Kurt DelBene, president of the Microsoft Office Division, announced that 1 billion people worldwide now use Microsoft Office. Fuelling that growth has been Office 2010, the most popular version of Office ever. Worldwide, someone buys a copy of Office 2010 every second. DelBene also announced two new investments in Office 365 partners.

The first announcement was for Office 365 Open, which Microsoft claims is a new way for partners to sell Office 365. It establishes a traditional reseller model, enabling partners to realise more revenue, deliver packaged services with a single invoice, and own the customer relationship.

Microsoft also announced Office 365 Advisors Programme updates to let the most active partners earn more up front with Office 365. Starting yesterday, partners who sell more than 150 seats are eligible to earn more revenue. “The Office Division has never been stronger, and our amazing partners are critical to this success. Office is now used by more than a billion people, and Office 365 is on track to be one of the fastest-growing offers in our history,” DelBene said. “The investments announced today will fuel even more robust growth ahead.”

Tami Reller, corporate VP and CFO, Windows and Windows Live Division, described the wave of ecosystem innovation coming with Windows 8 and demonstrated how Windows 8 is enterprise ready by design, according to Microsoft.

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