Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, took the stage to acknowledge the path Microsoft has chosen to embrace with partners. Ballmer discussed the key dimensions of the Cloud and challenged partners to reinvent the business model.
Tami Reller, corporate vice president and chief financial officer for the Windows business, talked about the tremendous partner opportunity with Windows 7 and announced key beta release of Windows 7, which enhance the deployment and management of virtualised desktop infrastructure another strong theme for this event. Reller also emphasized the role of the Cloud in Windows and announced the second public beta of Windows Intune, a new product that uses the best of both Windows cloud services and Windows 7 to provide management and security of PCs.
A significant keynote address came from Stephen Elop, president of the Microsoft Business Division, who highlighted growing momentum for Microsoft Online Services (MOS), and announced the new partnerships with communications service providers, including BT.
The key message to partners was the industry transformation that is under way with the emergence of the Cloud, and the opportunity it creates for partners to grow and evolve their businesses. New tools and resources to enable partners to build their Cloud knowledge. The new Microsoft Cloud Essentials Pack, the Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Programme designation, new solution incentives for partners and the roll out of, which helps business customers find technology experts, software applications, and professional services, to 40 countries this year.
The message is clear, customer continuity and resilience through the Cloud, access to ad hoc services and a move away from onsite complicated support structures thus enabling end-users to increase productivity.
The showcasing of Windows Phone 7, Windows Live, Xbox and more, demonstrated how Microsoft platforms combine the power of immersive software with smart services accessed instantly via the Cloud to deliver experiences that make lives easier and more entertaining.
So what does all this mean to the resellers and integrators today? Microsoft is clearly determined to empower their partners to provide complete communications services including voice. They see the Cloud as the best way to deliver this solution partnering with key carrier service providers such as BT with their Virtual Cloud services providing resilience and flexibility on a pay as you go basis.
This also means ROI, a path to migration away from hardware dependency. However, as one integrator told me the key to the success of this strategy is the small developer partners providing key end-user features in mobility call control, contact centre functionality, least-cost routing and most important legacy system integration.
Exhibitor AltiGen, a Technology Adoption Programme (TAP) partner, provide killer apps that enable traditional system integrators to realise their full potential by providing the business-critical applications to enhance current legacy infrastructure which includes mobility integration allowing customers to adopt these new services whilst maintaining control and at their own pace. Their booth was overwhelmed with resellers recognising the potential to protect their customers by providing them with a means of adopting these new services with a close Microsoft development partner.
The future of communications technology is changing and Microsoft recognise the best way to deliver their solutions successfully is through the Cloud as a service where resellers and integrators can deliver these solutions regardless of their capabilities.
For my part I am very excited about this future and it is not a too distant future.
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