Last month in the newsletter and on this blog, I mentioned Virtual Partner Concierge as a source of information that complements the U.S. partner portal and newsletter as well as our social media outreach. Several partners who have checked it out over the past few weeks have responded positively to the unique online experience Concierge offers. It's not just another Microsoft partner site. Instead, it gives you a simple, consistent way to easily find—and return to—Microsoft partner-related content, based on your company's business and your role or areas of interest. On Concierge, you'll see content and connection recommendations from Microsoft U.S. partner team members who have expertise in various aspects of the partner business. You can rate content, leave comments, create a list of favorites, and more. Right now, about 15 views are complete and available, and more are in the works.

I hope you'll check it out. To use Virtual Partner Concierge, you must have Silverlight 4.0 installed (there is a link on the landing page). I look forward to hearing your feedback.


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


Partner News

Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for January
As part of our usual cycle of monthly security updates, on January 11 Microsoft released two bulletins addressing three vulnerabilities in Windows.

January U.S. Volume Licensing Price Lists
Each month, we publish the current Microsoft U.S. Open License Estimated Price List to the partner portal. Add this page to your favorites, or find it in the U.S. Partner Resources section on the partner portal home page.

Exam Packages Help You Meet the New Requirements
Back by popular demand, save up to 30 percent and get free exam retakes when you purchase one of three competency exam packages for meeting partner network requirements. The packages entitle you to take your exams until September 30, 2011.

Expand Your Cloud Services Horizons with the Cloud Champions Club
The Cloud Champions Club gives provides you with the support you need to grow your cloud services business. Membership benefits include expert advice, training, and funds to drive your business development and sales.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Sales Resources
Partner- and customer-ready materials include content for business decision makers, technical sales enablement, click-thru demos with scripts, data sheets, competitive discussion materials and more.

Save Valuable Time on Website Updates
Use our free Web Syndication service to reclaim some of the time you spend updating your website. The syndication library includes business value content and key product information you can deliver directly to your own website.

Let Your Customers Know You Resell Genuine Microsoft Software
Your customers get the highest quality experience, best protection, and most value for their money when they purchase and use genuine Microsoft software. Use this syndication microsite on your website and let your customers know you resell genuine Microsoft software.

On Twitter: Windows Azure Platform Offers Scale for Spikes
We're offering a Windows Azure Platform 30 day pass, so you can put Windows Azure and SQL Azure through their paces. No credit card required. Use promo code MPNUS1.

Get a Head Start on Sales: Office 365 Sneak Peek
Get a jump on sales with Microsoft Office 365-the next release of the Microsoft Online Services platform, launching later this year-and show your customers how to harness cloud power. Our timesaving resources, including a sales presentation and customizable email, will help you spread the word.

Profitably Reconnect with Your Customers
IDC research on Microsoft cloud-focused partners shows how Microsoft Business Productivity Online Services can create opportunities for suppliers and help you profitably reconnect with your customers. Read the whitepaper and discover how.

Discover Cloud Power and Drive Demand and Sales for Microsoft Cloud Solutions
Jump-start your marketing plans in 2011with the Microsoft Thru Partner Cloud Power campaign, designed to ready your business, help you create demand with new and existing customers, and close more deals for your cloud services.

Get the BPOS Ready-to-Go Marketing Campaign
Use these resources to create your own marketing program and differentiate yourself from the competition. We've added a "Competitive Information" section to make it even easier to help you position Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite versus key competitor offerings.

New Plan Feature in Partner GPS
Partners like you have been using Microsoft Partner GPS (Guiding Partner Success) to find fresh, relevant resources by sales cycle and capability level in nine key solution areas. The new Plan tab provides quick access to resources that help you align your solution strategy with the Microsoft vision.

Business Customers Are Waiting for You
More than 90,000 business customers visit Microsoft Pinpoint each month to search for partners who can meet their business needs. Don't leave opportunities on the table. Get listed in Pinpoint today.

Make Internet Business Easy for Your Customers
This presentation helps you explain how the easy-to-use, easy-to-manage SharePoint 2010 can provide an ideal foundation for your customers' business websites.

Talk to Your Education Customers about Live@edu Offerings
Begin talking with your customers about the affordable offerings available with the Live@edu platform and convert to profitable Office 365 opportunities with Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Lync Online, and Office Pro Plus.

Action Pack Subscribers

Solution Provider Subscription – Welcome Letter from Julie Golding

Thank you for such a positive response to our first Microsoft Action Pack Solution Provider (SP) edition of the U.S. partner newsletter. Several partners sent me comments and feedback. I enjoyed hearing how the Action Pack subscription is helping their businesses and also appreciate the questions and suggestions for improvement. Please continue to reach out to me with your feedback about the Action Pack SP. Your feedback may be featured in a future newsletter. You can connect to me through @MyActPack on Twitter, or by e-mail at

I promised to use this space to answer common Action Pack-related questions. Here is this month's question:

Q: What are the benefits of having an Action Pack SP subscription versus a TechNet subscription? Which subscription should I renew?

A: Microsoft Action Pack SP provides internal-use rights for the latest versions of Microsoft software, which you can use to run your business, and includes a TechNet subscription so you can evaluate software (current and older versions) for your clients. The software licenses offered through TechNet are for evaluation purposes only and do not provide internal-use rights. Your Action Pack subscription also provides benefits like support through the Partner Online Technical Communities and listing in Microsoft customer directories. See the full list of benefits.

If your Action Pack subscription is up for renewal within the next 90 days, consider renewing by January 31 for a chance to win one of seven Xbox Console with Kinect packages in our "MAP your Success" promotion. Need help with your renewal? Our Action Pack Subscription Support page contains self-help resources and contact information for phone-based support if you get stuck.

Julie Golding
Manager, Microsoft Action Pack Solution Provider

Microsoft Lync Now Available to Action Pack Subscribers
Microsoft Lync, the new generation of Office Communicator, allows you to schedule a meeting directly from Microsoft Outlook and join through Lync 2010 via PC, phone, or Web. Take advantage of your Lync software internal-use benefit. Sign in to your Benefits page and select “Download Your Internal-Use Software Benefits.”

Training Resources

SharePoint Server 2010 Training Package for Developers
This package of training recommendations contains a series of courses to build a technical skill set on SharePoint Server 2010. The training ranges from introductory 100 level training online to 300 level deep, technical, hands-on, classroom-style training.

4-1-1 SMB Partner Marketing Monthly Webcast: Virtualization
Join us on Friday, January 28, at 10:00 AM Pacific Time for best practices and marketing resources to help you reach more SMB customers. This month we'll discuss virtualization, Microsoft System Center Essentials, and more.

New Microsoft Lync Learning Plans
Find training that will give you a technical and business understanding of Microsoft Lync 2010. New learning plans are available to give you additional insight.

Hosting Platform Training Recommendations
We've collected the best of our training offerings for hosting providers on the Learning Plan Tool. Whether you are preparing to attain the silver or gold Hosting competency, or simply need to get your staff trained on relevant Microsoft products, our recommendations can help.

Web Development Training Recommendations
We've collected the best of our training offerings for Web developers on the Learning Plan Tool. Whether you are preparing to attain the silver or gold Web Development competency, or simply need to get your staff trained on relevant Microsoft products, our recommendations can help.

Practice Accelerator for Server Virtualization
Virtualization is a key technology for reducing the cost and complexity of IT management. With Practice Accelerator, you can assist your customers with their virtualization planning and deployments.

Understand Windows 7 64-Bit Deployment Considerations
This 200-level course can teach you about the primary deployment drivers and blockers for the 64-bit Windows client to help your customers plan for their Windows 7 deployments.

Small Business, Big Rewards: SBS 2011 Training Sweepstakes
Learn how the new Windows Small Business Server 2011 can help you address common small business challenges. Through January 26, complete an eligible course and you'll be entered for a chance to win a Windows Phone 7 or an Xbox Kinect sensor.