Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer opened Microsoft’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) by highlighting key product milestones and opportunities for partners contributing to the beginning of a new era for the company.
The four-day event celebrates the accomplishments of the company’s more than 640 000 global partners and gives a preview of what will be the most exciting product releases for Microsoft in the coming year.
“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 says.
“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.”
Speaking before nearly 16 000 attendees from around the globe, Kurt DelBene, president of the Microsoft Office Division, announced that 1-billion people worldwide now use Microsoft Office. Fueling 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:
* Office 365 Open 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.
* Office 365 Advisors Program updates let the most active partners earn more up front with Office 365. 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 says. “The investments announced today will fuel even more robust growth ahead.”
In a wide-ranging Q&A that highlighted major moments from the past year and looked ahead to what’s next, Ballmer focused on business performance driven in large part by Microsoft partners. He specifically highlighted successes from partners working with Windows 7, Office, Windows Server, Windows Azure and Microsoft Dynamics.
Ballmer also states that, beyond any one product, the big trends the company is focused on include machine learning, form factors and UI, cloud, core platform, and new scenarios – communications, productivity and entertainment.
Tami Reller, corporate VP and chief financial officer, 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.