This week, I’m in Toronto for the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC).  As always, it’s amazing to see this broad ecosystem of partners who support our education customers both with implementation with technology innovation, but also with industry expertise and integration.  Our education partners continue to be not only strong advocates of change in innovation and education, but have been doing the practical work both to support our customers and also to influence Microsoft's strategy and the continued quality of our engagement in education.

The event is always a great opportunity to not only salute and thank our partners for their commitment and connection, but also to align to make sure that we're working together to serve schools effectively in the year ahead. With the range of new technologies from Microsoft like Office 365, Windows 8, and the continued expansion of our cloud services with products like Windows Azure, the opportunity for partners to build on our platform and provide rich and robust solutions for education have never been stronger.

Connecting with partners at WPC always feels me with optimism for the work ahead, and it's a great sense of gratitude on the Microsoft approach of being focused on partnership as part of our core DNA.

It's fitting that a long term partner was recognized this year as our Global Education Partner of the Year, and that's Dell Corporation.  Dell has been a close Microsoft partner on the Windows platform with Windows devices, laptops, slates, and tablets for many years, but their partnership is actually much broader than just Dell hardware devices.  While Dell’s Education Data Management (EDM) solution won the award this year, the company continues to expand their platform with serving our mutual customers with education licensing, integration solutions, cloud solutions, and more. Dell has become a rich and valuable partner in many areas with a commitment to customer service and a real shared commitment to work in education.

Microsoft recently announced a new collaboration with Dell’s Assistive Technology Service to provide Microsoft’s accessibility guides and curriculum resources with their service. We’re also excited about Dell’s recent acquisition of Wyse Technology as we’re working together to jointly market school IT labs and one-to-one computing solutions that allow a cost effective delivery of innovative IT enabled education. I had the opportunity to talk to Andre Beuchat with Wyse recently about the tremendous growth and adoption of virtual desktops in education. Take a listen to the video below, and I will be posting more partner conversations this week.

Congratulations again to Dell, and a big thank you to all of our partners who are working so hard to make an impact in education.