In your newsletter this week, customized according to your company’s business model and Microsoft Partner Network membership, as well as by your role at your company, you’ll find the latest partner-related information and news, including the Lync opportunity for partners and training recommendations for Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft Desktop Optimization. I also encourage you to visit and sign in to the U.S. partner portal, where you’ll find links about the Microsoft Action Pack, Windows Intune, Windows Phone, executive connection, and our recommendations for partners for December.

To get a better understanding of the opportunities available to you as a member of the Microsoft Partner Network, watch our new MPN 101 presentation online, featuring subject-matter experts from across the Microsoft U.S. Partner Team.

If you are an Action Pack subscriber, read this month’s letter from Julie Golding, about the your Microsoft Pinpoint benefit, and how to take best advantage of it.

Below are all the items we published in this week’s U.S. partner newsletter. If you feel that the version you received in email, is missing something critical from this superset, please let me know by commenting here or sending me an e-mail (partnerQ@microsoft.com).

In this post, you will find three sections of content:

  • Partner News – Information about Partner Network membership and partner-related campaigns, promotions, and opportunities.
  • Training Recommendations – Links to the latest training opportunities (many of them low-cost and no-cost) and training-related offers.
  • Role-Based Training – Our recommendations for two Microsoft products: this week, it’s Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft Desktop Optimization.

In keeping with our delivery schedule of the first and third Friday of each month for this newsletter, we'll see you next on January 6, with recommendations from your local Microsoft team.

For more partner news, resources, and recommendations, visit us on the U.S. partner portal and Virtual Partner Concierge, and join the U.S. Partner Community on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Cheers,

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



Partner News

Partnering with Precision: Celebrating Lync's One-Year Anniversary
In her latest blog post, U.S. Vice President for Partner Strategy and Programs, Jenni Flinders, discusses how Microsoft Lync is helping customers increase productivity and reduce costs, and why you should consider adding Lync solutions to your own Microsoft practice.

On-Demand Webcast: Microsoft Partner Network Interactive Leadership Forum
In this webcast, held live on December 6, the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group leadership team provides an update about the Microsoft Partner Network and addresses common questions.

Demonstrate and Differentiate Your Microsoft SharePoint Expertise
Microsoft SharePoint is one of the most in-demand products in Microsoft history. Achieving the Content Management competency can help you build your SharePoint practice by demonstrating to customers that you can help them efficiently and effectively manage their information—and make that information easy to find, share, and use.

From Ideas to Impact, Customized Applications Pave the Way
The Software Development competency helps you capitalize on strong customer demand for customized application solutions based on Microsoft technologies.

Time to Thrive Webcast Series for Microsoft Sales Specialists
This monthly live webcast series features sales experts explaining how you can thrive in today's IT landscape. Microsoft Sales Specialists are invited to watch replays of previous webcasts and register for upcoming events.

Let Us Help You Close More Deals, with Technical Presales Assistance
If you have attained a silver or gold competency, your benefits include unlimited presales support for any deal worth $3,000 or more. For deals worth less than $3,000, you may use your Advisory Hours benefit to access this benefit.

Demo Provisioning Tool and Companion Guide for Office 365
Use the Demo Provisioning Tool to let your customers experience Microsoft Office 365 in the context of a typical business situation, so they better understand how implementing Office 365 can improve communication, collaboration, and efficiencies in their organization—saving them time and money.

Download Microsoft System Center 2012 Pre-Release Products
System Center 2012 pre-release products help organizations achieve IT as a Service by enabling productive infrastructure, predictable applications, and cloud computing on their terms, with a common management experience.

Build Rich Internet Solutions with Microsoft SharePoint
Use your SharePoint skills to provide high-margin, high-growth Internet and extranet solutions to help your customers build the right web presence for their specific business needs. Each month, join the community of U.S. partners who are building Digital Marketing practices for an engaging, live webcast where we share resources and information.

December 2011 Microsoft Security Bulletin
As part of our usual cycle of updates, on Tuesday, December 13 Microsoft released thirteen security bulletins addressing 19 unique vulnerabilities in Microsoft products.

Your Government Customers May Qualify for the Big Easy Offer
Your government customers may be eligible for the Big Easy Offer 7. They can choose from a variety of Microsoft products, including Microsoft Online Services, while earning money on qualifying purchases that can be used toward the purchase of additional software, hardware, or services from you. Offer ends December 31, 2011. Terms and conditions.

Make Microsoft Pinpoint Work for You
Microsoft Pinpoint, our online partner directory, is a benefit of your Microsoft Partner Network membership that helps you create customer demand for your Microsoft-based solutions. In our new Pinpoint Pointers presentation series, you will learn how to use Pinpoint to your best advantage.

Plan the Event Your Customers Will Be Talking About All Year
Use our new Event Marketing 101 campaign, from Ready-to-Go Marketing Events, to build a customer events plan that sets you up for success in 2012 and helps you build your business.

Get Customized Promotional Items for the Holidays
We have a selection of customizable holiday items at partner-only pricing. Add your own logo alongside Microsoft on our recommended items, or contact our trusted vendor for help finding the perfect product or gift.

Early Registration Open for Convergence 2012
Connect with your customers at Convergence, March 18–21 in Houston, TX. Register by January 26, 2012, and receive $300 off the registration fee. Also, nominate your customers for the Customer Excellence Awards before January 9, 2012.

2012 Business Leader Roadshow for Microsoft Dynamics Partners
This premier leadership event is an invaluable opportunity to collaborate with, and learn from, business development experts, Microsoft field and business leadership, and your peers. Space is limited, and we encourage you to register early.

VFI Helps You Stay Informed About Important Tech Policy Issues
Voices for Innovation (VFI) keeps Microsoft partners updated on important technology policy issues that could affect your business, like the cloud, business taxes, and upcoming elections. 2012 promises to be an active year—stay informed by following VFI on Facebook, on Twitter, and through the VFI newsletter.

Create, Customize, and Publish Websites for Free with Microsoft WebMatrix
Microsoft WebMatrix is a free, downloadable web development tool that includes everything you need for website development. Start from open source web applications, use built-in web templates, or just start writing code yourself.

Develop Windows Phone Applications and Games
Download the free Windows Phone SDK to develop applications and games for Windows Phone. The latest release includes all the necessary tools you to need to develop applications and games for both Windows Phone 7.0 and Windows Phone 7.5 devices, and it includes productivity enhancements.

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence Clickthrough Demos
A new set of business intelligence-oriented clickthrough demos are now available on the Microsoft Demo Showcase. These demos offer you preconfigured and industry-specific data models to show off Microsoft BI's visualization and analytics capabilities to your customers.

Download Internet Explorer 9 and Enter to Win a Slate Tablet PC
Discover what's new in Windows Internet Explorer 9 and find out how to experience a faster, more beautiful web. Enter the Internet Explorer 9 sweepstakes for your chance to win an ASUS Slate Tablet or other great prizes. Game ends December 31, 2011. Official Rules.

Earn Rewards in the Microsoft SQL Server Solution Incentives Program
The Microsoft SQL Server Solution Incentives Program rewards you for providing Microsoft solutions that deliver mission-critical confidence and breakthrough business intelligence to your customers.

Win a Trip to 2012 International CES from Microsoft OEM
Enter on Facebook for a chance to win a trip to the 2012 International CES, in Las Vegas from January10-13. Sweepstakes ends December 21, 2011. Official Rules.

Training Recommendations

New Courses and Prizes in the December Partner Training Sweepstakes
You could win a digital SLR camera package, a Samsung Focus Windows Phone 7, or a $25 American Express gift card when you take any of our featured SQL Server 2012, Small Business Server 2011, Office 365, or Azure courses this month. You will earn a prize entry for each sales or technical course you attend. Sweepstakes ends June 30, 2012. Official Rules.

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Technical Ignite
This two-day course focuses on the new features of SQL Server 2012, combining presentations and hands-on labs to help you better understand how SQL Server 2012 addresses your customers' mission critical, business intelligence, enterprise information management, and database development needs.

Premier Architect Training Offer for Microsoft Partners
Take advantage of this special offer for Microsoft partners from the International Association of Solution Architects and get 20 architect-level courses for $10,000, an 80% discount. With these strategic technical resources, you will be able to attract new customers and deepen your relationships with existing customers.

Differentiate Yourself and Your Skills with Microsoft Certification
Competition in the job market is tight and you need to differentiate yourself. Microsoft Learning partners teach courses based on job role or technology, preparing you for Microsoft Certification, and helping you improve your marketability.

Get Ready to Get Certified with Partner Exam Academy
Partner Exam Academy continues to grow and now features eight Microsoft competencies. Find recommended no-cost and fee-based training to help you prepare for competency-required certification exams.

Save on Microsoft Exam Practice Tests Through January
Practice tests can help you assess your knowledge of Microsoft exam material and highlight areas where you need more preparation. Take advantage of a 40% discount on qualifying Microsoft practice exams through January 30, 2012, choosing the offer that best fits your needs.

Get Help Using Jump Start Courses
Visit the Campaign Factory to download a new Jump Start FAQ. This FAQ can help you effectively use Jump Starts, which are included in the courseware library, to deliver training on strategic and emerging technologies.

New Microsoft System Center 2012 Role-Based Learning Paths
Find training on Microsoft System Center 2012 and the private cloud for your role. Since they are online, Learning Paths are kept updated as new, relevant training becomes available.

Prepare for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 with Role-Based Training
Prepare for the upcoming release of SQL Server 2012 with role-based training for partners of all types. New training will be added to this link as it becomes available.

On Demand Webcast: Lync Mobile – Clients, Server, and Deployment
The Lync app for Windows Phone 7 was recently released, and clients for iOS and Android are coming soon. In this webcast, we will discuss the features and capabilities of the cross-platform Lync mobile clients and the cumulative update to Lync Server 2010.

Updated Training Offerings for Partners Serving Public Sector Customers
For partners serving federal government, state and local government, education, or health and life sciences customers, we have just updated the content for each of these verticals with relevant learning opportunities.

FAST University for Microsoft SharePoint Partners
Your deployments that use FAST search technology are already delivering value. See the latest versions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint, and Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint Internet Sites.

Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Hands-on Labs Online
Lync Server 2010 hands-on labs are intended for both novice and experienced IT professionals who want to learn more about technical scenarios in Lync. The course requires 12 hours to complete, but it can be taken online and at your own pace.

Microsoft Lync Ultimate Voice Career Promotion
Learn more about Microsoft Lync and share your Lync experience with other users. Enter the Ultimate Voice Career Promotion, and you could win prizes like an Xbox 360 or a $5,000 Kinect entertainment system. Promotion ends June 30, 2012. Official Rules.

Microsoft OEM Training Zone Holiday Sweepstakes
Register on the free Microsoft OEM Training Zone website and complete product courses for a chance to win an ASUS Eee Slate EP121. Sweepstakes ends January 9, 2012. Official Rules.

Microsoft Office 365 Webcasts for State and Local Government Customers
Your state and local government customers can benefit from this series of technically focused webcasts that will help them better understand the value of Microsoft Office 365 and how to effectively utilize these online services to maximize their end-user productivity.

Role-Based Training for Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft Desktop Optimization

Training for Business Decision Makers
Microsoft Office 2010

Microsoft Desktop Optimization

Training for IT Professionals
Microsoft Office 2010

Microsoft Desktop Optimization

Training for Developers
Microsoft Office 2010

Microsoft Desktop Optimization

Training for Sales and Marketing Roles
Microsoft Office 2010

Microsoft Desktop Optimization

Training for Training Roles
Microsoft Office 2010

Microsoft Desktop Optimization