Microsoft Unveils Increased Partner Opportunity and Investments At Annual Worldwide Partner Conference

TORONTO, July 11, 2004 — Building on a year of steadily increasing momentum, Microsoft Corp. today opened the Microsoft®
Worldwide Partner Conference 2004 for its global network of industry partners. Centered on the theme “Velocity,” the event will highlight the success the reinvented Microsoft Partner Program has experienced in its first year and the increasing traction the program is experiencing as it goes into its second.

The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2004 takes place today, July 11, through Tuesday, July 13, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto. More than 5,500 business leaders, marketing executives, sales professionals and solution architects from around the world are attending the event.

“It’s a great time to be a Microsoft partner,” said Allison Watson, vice president of the Worldwide Partner Sales and Marketing Group at Microsoft. “We’ve had tremendous momentum with the Microsoft Partner Program in its first year. We have a full pipeline of platform innovations on the way, and as our momentum builds into velocity, we are significantly increasing our investments in the worldwide partner channel. This combination of exciting new technology, innovations and increased investment in partners will help us enable Microsoft partners to identify the kinds of business opportunities that will help them successfully drive their businesses and deliver value to their customers in the year ahead.”

The conference will open with keynotes from Watson; Sanjay Parthasarathy, corporate vice president of developer and platform evangelism; Orlando Ayala, senior vice president of the Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partner Group and chief operating officer, Microsoft Business Solutions; Simon Witts, corporate vice president of the Enterprise and Partner Group; and Kevin Johnson, group vice president of the Worldwide Sales, Marketing and Services Group. They will be joined throughout the conference by leaders across Microsoft’s business groups and will culminate with a keynote address from Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer. Collectively, these executives will highlight Microsoft’s commitment to partner success opportunity, how the company is building a market-leading level of innovation into products and services, the value of the Solution Competencies within the Microsoft Partner Program, significant investments in research and development for existing and future offerings, and how the company is maintaining a high level of focus on security.

Building on the successful relaunch of the Microsoft Partner Program, Microsoft will unveil programs and resources closely aligned with the Microsoft Solution Competencies, which allow partners to clearly define and identify their areas of expertise in one or more specific solution areas that best fit their business model with the goal of helping them capture additional business opportunities. In the coming year, Microsoft will also deliver revamped resources, including marketing that is conducted jointly by Microsoft and its partners, to drive customer demand and awareness, and new field resources and tools to further align Microsoft with its worldwide ecosystem of business partners.

The Worldwide Partner Conference 2004 will serve as the launch pad for a number of new initiatives, partner programs, and technology and product announcements:

  • In her opening keynote address, Watson announced that Microsoft is expanding engagement and opportunities for partners by increasing its investment in the partner channel from $1.5 billion to $1.7 billion for fiscal year 2005. The increased investment will make more people, training and support available to partners. In addition, Watson announced that each global subsidiary will allocate a total of 35 percent of their global marketing funds to develop “through-partner marketing,” which will be done jointly by Microsoft and partners.

  • Parthasarathy announced a number of new and expanded business and technical enablement programs for ISVs. Building on Microsoft’s more than 20 years of engagement with ISVs, the programs are designed to help ISVs during critical phases of their business life cycle, including architecture, design and development. Programs announced include the Royalty Licensing Program, the ISV Buddy Program, MSDN® for ISVs, ISV Community Days, ISV Shows and the Microsoft Windows®
    Error Reporting Service.

  • Watson also announced Channel Builder, a combination of an online tool and off-line events that allows Microsoft partners to collaborate and promote their offerings to other Microsoft partners. Watson noted that the main benefits of Channel Builder include helping ISV partners make connections with system builders, system integrators, distributors, resellers or other ISVs; build their sales channels; drive additional revenue through working with other Microsoft partners; and extend their sales reach into new geographies.

  • During his keynote address Johnson awarded Microsoft partner Bayshore Solutions the “Winning Customer Award,” which acknowledges Bayshore Solutions’ excellence in partner-driven solutions that empower businesses and people to realize their full potential. Bayshore Solutions’ takes an innovative and pragmatic approach to meeting customer needs and winning new business centers. Third-party data that demonstrates the value of the Microsoft Windows platform versus Linux and open source is shared. Bayshore Solutions’ approach enables customers to make fact-based IT decisions. Johnson emphasized Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to equip partners with the evidence that enables them to address customer questions about Linux and open source.

  • Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Services Rick Devenuti announced the launch of Microsoft Services Partner Advantage, the newest global support offering for partners. Designed to meet the unique service needs of the Microsoft partner community, the Microsoft Services Partner Advantage offering provides scalable and customized support plans that include direct access to Microsoft tools and internal resources that enable partners to efficiently develop on, deploy and support Microsoft products and technologies.

About Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference

Microsoft’s 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 .

About Microsoft

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