Today, Microsoft announced a public beta of Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft Office 365 combines the familiar Microsoft Office desktop suite with cloud-based versions of next-generation Microsoft communications and collaboration services, all backed by the robust security and guaranteed reliability customers expect from a world-class service provider. More than a new version of a familiar product, Office 365 will enable unprecedented collaboration and sharing across PCs, phones, and browsers.

In conjunction with the Microsoft Office 365 beta announcement, we also launched the Microsoft Office 365 Marketplace beta. Powered by Pinpoint, the Office 365 Marketplace gives partners the opportunity to showcase how their applications or services extend or enrich Microsoft Office 365. Read our blog post to understand how to take advantage of this exciting new opportunity to help customers find you.

Finally, I’m pleased to tell you that we will begin to offer improved Microsoft Partner Network membership information in this newsletter. The “Your Membership” box on the right-hand side of your newsletter now includes your company’s next renewal date, and if you are your company’s Primary Program Contact, you will start to see targeted messages that contain timely information and resources to help you plan your company’s next renewal.

For more partner news, resources, and recommendations, visit us on the U.S. partner portal and Virtual Partner Concierge, and join us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you are a Microsoft Action Pack subscriber, read Julie Golding’s monthly Q&A.

Cheers,
Diane Golshan
Managing Editor, U.S. Partner Portal and Newsletter



 

Partner News

Deliver Productivity from the Cloud with Microsoft Office 365 Beta
Maintaining competitive advantage requires that your customers be productive from the office, at home, and in the field, on virtually any device. Microsoft Office 365 can help you fulfill this demand for businesses of all sizes. Sign up for the beta today to be among the first to try this groundbreaking services offering, and discover how Office 365 can help you reach new customers and develop new revenue streams.

Use Our Office 365 Readiness Checklist to Get Ready for Launch
Get your business ready to sell Office 365 when it becomes available later this year, with our list of recommendations that will help you understand the opportunity, build your training plan, and take advantage of partner benefits through the Microsoft Cloud Essentials Pack.

Office 365 Marketplace Helps Customers Find Your Services
The new Office 365 Marketplace beta is powered by Microsoft Pinpoint and initially showcases services that help customers plan for and adopt the cloud or deploy Office 365. Read our blog post for additional Office 365 Marketplace news and guidance.

April 2011 Security Bulletin
As part of our usual cycle of monthly security updates, on April 12 Microsoft released 17 security bulletins addressing 64 vulnerabilities.

Extended to April 29: WPC 2011 Award Nominations
Based on partner feedback, the submission date for the 2011 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) Partner Awards is now April 29. Award categories include Emerging Technologies and Innovation; Country Partner of the Year; Competency; Sales Excellence; and Vertical, Industry, and Segment.

Early Bird Registration for WPC 2011 Ends April 25
Register by April 25 for an All-Access Event Pass to get $300 off the price of registration, plus a chance to win a VIP package that will make your conference experience even more fantastic.

Capture Your Share of Open Renewal Opportunities
Use our SMB Open Renewal Center as your one-stop shop for resources to help you secure your business and grow your wallet. Our refreshed page has updated resources. Request your renewals workbook today and get started.

Keep Your Valuable Membership Benefits: Technical Support, MSDN, and TechNet
The benefits extension allows former Gold Certified and Certified Partners to easily transition to new competencies, but it does not extend technical support, MSDN, or TechNet subscription benefits. Attain at least one competency to retain all your valuable membership benefits.

Featured Membership Benefit: 50 Partner Advisory Hours for Partners with a Gold Competency
If you are a partner with at least one gold competency, you receive 50 hours of Partner Advisory Hours from Partner Technical Services for your membership year. Use your hours to expand your technical skills, gain sales proficiency and confidence, and deliver your solutions more effectively and efficiently.

Featured Membership Benefit: 20 Partner Advisory Hours for Partners with a Silver Competency
As a partner with at least one silver competency, you receive 20 hours of Partner Advisory Hours from Partner Technical Services for your membership year. Use your hours to expand your technical skills, gain sales proficiency and confidence, and deliver your solutions more effectively and efficiently.

Become an Early Adopter for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011
Being among the first to develop for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 gives you an opportunity to take the lead in your market. Visit Microsoft Platform Ready and receive exclusive benefits to help market your solution when you become an early adopter.

Filter Out the Noise, Filter In the Value
Quickly see the marketing resources you want—on one page—with improved content filtering on the Ready-to-Go beta website. Business-boosting tools are more accessible than ever.

Windows Intune Included in the Microsoft Cloud Essentials Pack
Simplify your PC management and amplify your productivity with Windows Intune. The Microsoft Cloud Essentials Pack provides subscribers with 10 PC device licenses for Windows Intune.

New SQL Azure Migration Wizard
Use the Microsoft SQL Azure Migration Wizard to migrate a Microsoft SQL Server 2005/2008 database to Microsoft SQL Azure Database. Requirements, project details, and other useful resources are available on the CodePlex website.

Make Money with Your Windows Phone 7 Apps Today
The Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows Phone was recently updated and now supports either Microsoft Silverlight or the XNA Framework. You can get started in three easy steps.

Increase Your Customers’ Productivity with Windows Phone
Learn how Windows Phone can help your customers achieve productivity without compromise. Dave Weaver, Mobile Division Manager at Geico, says, “The new Windows Phone really does put so much information right at your fingertips.”

Try Windows Azure for 30 Days at No Cost
Here’s an opportunity to try out the Windows Azure platform and explore the possibilities it holds. Use promotional code MPNUS1 to activate your free trial.

April 21 in Irvine, CA: Channel Development Meet & Greet
Partners have asked Microsoft to provide more opportunities to help them connect with other Microsoft partners and build their channel. Join us in Irvine for a great opportunity to develop relationships with other local Microsoft partners.

April 21 in New York, NY: Channel Development Meet & Greet
Partners have asked Microsoft to provide more opportunities to help them connect with other Microsoft partners and build their channel. Join us in New York for a great opportunity to develop relationships with other local Microsoft partners.

April 26 in Atlanta, GA: Channel Development Meet & Greet
Partners have asked Microsoft to provide more opportunities to help them connect with other Microsoft partners and build their channel. Join us in Atlanta for a great opportunity to develop relationships with other local Microsoft partners.

April 27 in Washington, DC: Channel Development Meet & Greet
Partners have asked Microsoft to provide more opportunities to help them connect with other Microsoft partners and build their channel. Join us in Washington, DC, for a great opportunity to develop relationships with other local Microsoft partners.

Training Resources

Find training opportunities and recommendations anytime on the U.S. Partner Learning blog, Learning Plan Tool website, and the Local Activities Section of the Training and Events page on the U.S. partner portal.

4-1-1 SMB Partner Marketing Webcast: How to Increase Volume Licensing Renewals
Join us on Friday, April 22, to learn how to communicate the value of Microsoft Volume Licensing programs to SMB customers. Drive renewals and revenue by explaining why the Open Programs are a smart investment to standardize IT and reduce costs.

Hosting Partner Community Call
Join us on Thursday, April 21, for this webinar discussing what’s new in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. Hosting Solutions Specialist Jeff Holstrom, Channel Development Manager Wendy Corley, and featured partner Scott Chapman, President of Project Hosts, will present.

Unleash Your Productivity Webcast
Join us—and bring your customers—for our webcast series on May 6 at 9:00 AM Eastern Time. In May, we’ll discuss ways to find and manage new customers with Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, Microsoft SharePoint 2010, and Microsoft SQL Server.

Business Insights Webcast: Windows Phone Virtual Event
Discover Windows Phone and the business experience it brings to life. Register today for our Windows Phone Virtual Event on May 12. Gary Cooper, IT Change and Analysis at E.ON, says, "The new Windows Phone could be to SharePoint what iPod was to iTunes."

Join Us for Tech•Ed 2011, May 16–19
Join us this year in Atlanta and take advantage of more than 1,000 learning opportunities, including breakout sessions, hands-on labs, and product demo stations.

Manage the Data Center with Microsoft System Center
Learn how you can help your customers standardize their data center management environment while significantly lowering operating and licensing costs. You'll be entered to win a Canon 14.1 MP camera and HP photo printer for each course you take.

Technical Talks: Sneak Peak into the Next Version of MDOP
On April 21, join host Tim Vander Kooi for a live conversation with Microsoft Senior Product Manager A. J. Smith, who will show the capabilities that the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) brings to customers today and share news about MDOP 2011.