Los Angeles — July 12, 2011 — The president of Microsoft’s Windows Phone Division, Andy Lees, took the stage at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) today in Los Angeles where he announced a number of new Windows Phone benefits for Microsoft partners, including exclusive discounts on Windows Phone devices and accompanying rate plans from mobile operators, new ways for Windows Phone partners to attain the Mobility Competency partner accreditation, and a new Microsoft Partner Network app for all Competency partners.
Andrew Lees, President, Windows Phone Division.
During a keynote address at WPC, Lees also emphasized that now is the time for partners to join and benefit from the expanding Windows Phone ecosystem.
Lees highlighted a number of new features coming to the next version of Windows Phone, code-named “Mango,” that build upon the unique design of Windows Phone and deliver integrated experiences with the company’s massive business user base of more than 750 million Microsoft Office users, 150 million Exchange users and 100 million licensed SharePoint users.
As the only phone to offer Microsoft Office Mobile and Outlook Mobile built-in, the next version of Windows Phone, available later this year, will enable greater productivity by allowing businesses to extend their IT infrastructure and utilize Microsoft cloud-based services such as Office 365 while increasing opportunities for partners around the globe, Lees said.
“This is a really exciting time for Windows Phone,” Lees says. “With Windows Phone 7 and our upcoming ‘Mango’ release, we bring a familiar platform and tools together with the breadth of Microsoft products to help partners scale and reach new customers. This represents a huge opportunity for partners to thrive and grow their business in the rapidly expanding Windows Phone ecosystem.”
Expanding Windows Phone Ecosystem
Since Windows Phone 7 made its debut in October 2010, Microsoft has announced a major partnership with Nokia and signed on new device partners such as ZTE, Acer and Fujitsu Ltd.
Following the Nokia announcement, analysts at IDC reassessed the competitive landscape and forecast that Windows Phone will be the No. 2 operating system in the world by 2015.
These new partnerships are not the only signs that point to an expanding Windows Phone ecosystem. The company also notes strong engagement by the developer community, which to date includes the following:
More than 42,000 registered marketplace developers
More than 1.5 million developer toolkits downloaded
More than 22,000 applications and games in the Windows Phone Marketplace with an average of more than 100 new titles each day
Windows Phone CRM application from CWR Mobility, the 2011 Microsoft Mobility Business-to-Business Application Partner of the Year. From left: product inventory page, load screen page, client map.
“Microsoft Visual Studio is the best developer platform available across all mobile devices,” says Erik van Hoof, founder of software developer CWR Mobility BV. “When it comes to development tools, Visual Studio is the best of the best. Nothing compares to it.”
Amsterdam-based CWR Mobility, which helps businesses improve operational efficiency with mobile customer relationship management capabilities, was recently named 2011 Microsoft Mobility Business-to-Business Application Partner of the Year. This is the second year running the company has been honored by Microsoft for its innovation, having been named last year as Mobility Solutions Business Application Partner of the Year.
Van Hoof attributed his company’s success, in part, to its participation in the Microsoft Partner Network. He said inclusion in the program has helped CRW, not just in terms of technological support to build apps, but also in selling and marketing its product and helping the company thrive. In the six years since inception, CWR’s headcount has grown to more than six times its initial number.
“We’re not the biggest company in the world,” van Hoof says. “Partnering with Microsoft gave us all of the resources we need to become the company that we are today.”
Paul Bryan, Microsoft’s senior director of Product Management, adds: “CWR is a great example of the type of experience you can create with Windows Phone. Erik and his team have shown the richness of what you can develop from an application perspective, the efficiency with which you can develop it, and the fact you can deliver a very powerful set of capabilities that you can take anywhere.”
It Pays to Be a Member
Noting a growing base of partners, and strong developer and app momentum, Bryan echoed Lees’ assertion that partners have a great opportunity to grow their business by taking an active role in the Windows Phone ecosystem. The Windows Phone platform, Bryan said, along with new app development tools for “Mango,” will allow partners to create and distribute mobile solutions, services and applications that can grow their business significantly.
New Microsoft Partner Network app for Windows Phone. From left: search page, home page, community page.
“We have a huge base of partners in the Microsoft Partner Network that are already very familiar with Microsoft technologies such as Exchange, SharePoint, Lync and now Office 365,” Bryan says. “What we’re saying to partners now is, ‘You can deliver great customer experiences by making all of these things available on the go with Windows Phone.’ Bringing Windows Phone into the conversation gives partners a whole new level of capability and added value for customers — without a lot of additional effort on their part.”
This added value can increase revenue for partners. At WPC, Microsoft shared the results of a new IDC white paper it commissioned that shows a number of areas in which partners can sell into businesses that work with Windows Phone.
The white paper, which was based on IDC data and discussions with partners, found that Lync, Office 365 and SharePoint offer the fastest growing revenue opportunities for partners. The research also found that using Windows Phone to enable mobile connectivity for Exchange and customers’ own business applications offer the largest overall revenue opportunity.
By 2012, IDC predicts, Windows Phone has the potential to generate annual software and service revenue of $296 per Windows Phone device for Microsoft partners.*
“Getting this business requires partners to focus, not only on their technical and sales capabilities, but increasingly on their ability to look across their customer’s business and bring together areas in which mobile can add value and become part of a coherent strategy,” says Chris Ingle, consulting and research director for IDC’s European Systems Group.
Benefits of the Window Phone Ecosystem
At WPC, Lees unveiled a range of new benefits and opportunities for members of the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN).
Lees announced an exclusive discount program that makes it easier for MPN members worldwide to obtain and experience Windows Phone. The new discount program, which begins immediately, is available to all MPN members with at least one Microsoft competency.
Lees also unveiled a new MPN app for all Mobility Competency partners that enables them to easily access exclusive technical and sales content for Windows Phone while on the go.
“When people try Windows Phone, they love it,” Lees says. “But it’s more than selling phones. Our goal is to equip partners with what they need to be successful, giving them the guidance and tools they need to bring compelling experiences to their customers.”
As a specific benefit to Mobility Competency partners, Lees announced a special MPN logo, available today, that partners may use to distinguish their apps from others in the Windows Phone Marketplace and App Hub.
Lees also announced that the next round of MPN updates in the fall will include a new way for partners that build mobile apps to attain the Mobility Competency certification by developing an app that meets specific business criteria.
For another view of the partner news shared about Windows Phone during WPC 2011, view the Windows Phone Mobility Partners video of Microsoft Partners discussing the opportunities for building Windows Phone applications and solutions.
* IDC, “Channel Opportunities for Windows Phone in North America and Europe – 2011”