Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer opened Microsoft Corp.’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Toronto 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 said. “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 realize 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. Starting today, 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 said. “The investments announced today will fuel even more robust growth ahead.”
Other news from today’s keynote speeches included the following:
- 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 stated 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 vice president and CFO, 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.
Partners to Hear From Other Executives
Throughout the week, senior executives will offer an inside look at the road ahead for Microsoft and its partners:
- Tomorrow, Satya Nadella, president of the Server and Tools Business; Kirill Tatarinov, president of Microsoft Business Solutions Division; and Thom Gruhler, corporate vice president of Windows Phone Marketing, will highlight new product opportunities for Microsoft partners and customers.
- Jon Roskill, corporate vice president, Worldwide Partner Group, will give a keynote speech on Wednesday about finding the balance between the right products, the right local team alignment and the right partner growth opportunity.
- Kevin Turner, chief operating officer, will speak on Wednesday, addressing the competitive advantages to partnering with Microsoft and the partner opportunity in emerging markets.
- Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP, the renowned physician, author and thought leader of the mind-body-spirit movement, will conclude the conference on Wednesday as the guest headliner.