Microsoft Readies Partners for Next Wave of Server Software

DENVER — July 11, 2007 — Today at the Microsoft® Worldwide Partner Conference 2007 (WPC), Microsoft Corp. will showcase a robust pipeline of IT products, a growing infrastructure of support, and programs that will help partners capitalize on new opportunities in the coming year. A key focus of partner opportunity will be the next generation of integrated server products, business process management (BPM) solutions and security technologies, presented to customers through compelling tools and campaigns that demonstrate practical benefits to their unique environments.

“The ongoing momentum of the Windows Vista® operating system and 2007 Microsoft Office software license sales, combined with the full slate of new server products due to ship next year, creates a wealth of opportunity for Microsoft partners in 2007 and 2008,” said Allison L. Watson, corporate vice president of the Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft.

Launching the Next Wave of Innovation

Windows Server® 2008, SQL Server™ 2008 and Visual Studio® 2008 represent tremendous growth opportunities for partners, and together these products will deliver a reliable and security-enhanced platform, the foundation for the next generation of service-based applications.

“Our People-Ready Business vision links a company’s people to making a difference in business outcomes, and this difference can be amplified through great software,” said Simon Witts, corporate vice president of the Enterprise and Partner Group at Microsoft. “Our partner network plays an important role in helping our customers achieve this reality, and is now seeing real opportunity to help business leaders and IT teams deliver more value through the application of Microsoft software.”

Delivering Opportunity Through Business Process Management Solutions

The increasing prevalence of business process management technologies represents a huge emerging revenue opportunity for partners. The Microsoft Business Process Alliance, first announced in February, is driving strong momentum in the channel, with a total of more than 350 consulting and integration partners, 50 solutions spanning all major vertical markets and 350 customer solutions to date. Microsoft also today announced that BizTalk® Server 2006 R2 will be available in September, as well as pricing, packaging and new independent software vendor embedded licensing. Highlights include the following:

  • Branch Edition. This new BizTalk edition enables businesses of all sizes to make intra-organizational and departmental connections for intelligent data and process sharing in scenarios such as supply chains, retail and manufacturing. The Branch Edition is available at $1,800 (U.S.) per CPU and includes radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

  • Service-Oriented Architecture & Business Process pack. This combines BizTalk Server 2006 R2, Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007, Visual Studio Team System, SQL Server 2005, the .NET Framework and four Office Business Applications Reference Application Packs for a 10 percent discount to help partners deliver the infrastructure components customers need to realize the value of an SOA-BPM solution in an easy and integrated way.

Providing Security Product Road Maps

Speaking to the strong demand for security solutions, Microsoft highlighted the latest milestones in its Forefront™ line of security and access products and their associated partner security programs. To help partners take full advantage of the business opportunity around Forefront, Microsoft announced that it is investing an additional $50 million in sales, marketing, training and other support for its security partner ecosystem over the next fiscal year. This investment builds on the success of Microsoft’s Security Software Advisor (SSA) program and Security Solutions Competency. More than 4,000 partners are now enrolled in the SSA program, which was launched just one year ago, and this week Microsoft is expanding the program to enable more partners to take advantage of up to 30 percent additional revenue through SSA. In addition, Microsoft responded to partner feedback on its Dynamic IT vision by enhancing the Security Solutions Competency with new specializations, certifications and program benefits that position partners as specialists in the sale and deployment of security solutions and as trusted IT advisors to corporate customers.

More information about the partner opportunities with Microsoft security solutions is in the PressPass interview with Mark Hassall, director of security channel programs at Microsoft, available at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2007/jul07/07-11hassallqa.mspx.

Helping to Ensure Partner Readiness

To ensure that partners and customers are prepared to take advantage of Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 when they are available, Microsoft is planning the largest IT professional, developer and partner outreach effort to date, which over the next several months will make training, marketing, sales events, programs and resources available around the world to customers and partners of all types.

Microsoft also today introduced the next version of its Demo Showcase for the People-Ready Business, which enables robust platform demonstrations through scenarios that are tightly aligned with Microsoft Customer Campaigns that are relevant to the decision-maker’s specific role, business requirements and technology needs.

“Demo Showcase 2007 helps our partners have the right conversations with the right people,” Watson said. “It also creates visibility in the marketplace for our partners’ skill sets and solutions.”

New features in the Demo Showcase for the People-Ready Business 2007 include these:

  • Support for Microsoft’s newest core product releases, including the 2007 Microsoft Office system, Windows Vista, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007

  • Integration with Microsoft Silverlight™ browser plug-in to showcase Web-based solutions

  • The creation of 23 new scenarios, with 15 personas used throughout

  • New methods for running the Demo Showcase, including a hosted site and simulations

  • An improved architecture thorough fewer virtual machines and a new user interface that enables partners to easily configure only the services needed to run their demo

  • Localized languages, which are scheduled to be available by the end of this month, including Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, French, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian and universal Spanish

Since the Demo Showcase for the People-Ready Business was launched at the 2006 Worldwide Partner Conference in Boston, partners have had great success using the resource to showcase their Microsoft platform-based solutions.

“Ever since we have been using the Demo Showcase, we have drastically increased the percentage of success in customer negotiations; we’ve standardized the customer presentation modalities and increased the speed in preparing demos,” said Fabrizio Montali, director of Gruppo Info, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner in Italy. “We have reduced the amount of time it takes our technical specialists to create demos by about 60 percent. Our teams are more productive now and can create more demos which helps enable us to close more sales and increase profitability.”

About the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference

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