The U.S. partner team delivers an e-mail newsletter to U.S.-based Microsoft Partner Network members each Monday as a benefit of membership. We are looking at new ways to help connect partners to valuable information about the Microsoft Partner Network and associated benefits as well as new opportunities for your business. We’ll be covering new resources and tools in future blog posts, but in the meantime, feedback from many of you indicates that blogs are one way you stay current.  Below are my favorite items from today’s newsletter.

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Regional Partner Calls – Join Your Local Microsoft Team Each Month

Microsoft Partner Network Changes – Announcing Silver and Gold Competencies. After October 2010, Gold Certified, Certified, and Registered Member levels will be replaced by silver competencies and gold competencies. Most of the new silver competencies became available in May 2010. Gold competencies will be available in October 2010. Visit the Prepare for Changes to the Network page and subscribe to our Web Slice to stay up-to-date.

New for August! Turn on Presence: Office Communications Server Standard CAL and Core CAL Suite Promotion. Through 12/31/2010, your customers can turn on Presence and Instant Messaging on every desktop and save up to 50% on the client access license (CAL), and may then be eligible for rights to the same edition of Microsoft Communications Server “14” upon its release. Full details about this promotion are on the U.S. partner portal. Looking for more active promotions to extend to your customers? Visit the Reseller Promotions page.

VARs: SMB Open Renewal Center. Renew your customers’ Open Value (OV) or Software Assurance (SA) agreements can help you secure your business and grow your wallet. The Renewal Center is a one-stop shop for resources that can help you get started. Request your renewals workbook today by sending an e-mail to erbmkt@microsoft.com.

Ready-to-Go Marketing: Bring Your Customers into the Cloud. Microsoft cloud services give companies useful tools to help with collaboration and productivity. Show your customers what they can do in the cloud with promotional resources from Ready-to-Go.

Download This: The Microsoft IT Showcase Windows 7 Deployment Kit. Learn the best ways to sell and deploy Windows 7. First find out how Microsoft IT professionals did it, and then help your customers upgrade, with the information in this PDF.

Training from Partner Cloud Services Days on the Learning Plan Tool Website. Use these recommendations for [free] cloud services training to get comfortable talking to your customers about the Microsoft Cloud Services offerings, understand how to compete effectively against other cloud-based offerings, and explain the benefits of products like BPOS, Azure, and more. Create and share your custom learning plan based on these courses today.

Developers: Speed Your Time-to-Market with Microsoft Platform Ready. Whether you're building simple add-ins, rich client applications, complex client and server solutions, or planning your future with cloud services, visit the new Microsoft Platform Ready website to access training, support, testing, and marketing resources to help you take your solution to market faster.

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What do you think about the usefulness of newsletters in this brave new social media world? Do you still subscribe to newsletters, or do you have more favored ways to stay connected? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Have a topic for this blog you’d like us to cover next? Leave a comment on this blog, send e-mail to partnerQ@microsoft.com, or tweet @msuspartner.

Cheers,

Diane Golshan
Sr. Marketing Manager, U.S. Partner Team
Learn more about what I do at Microsoft