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U.S. partner news for Friday, March 15

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imageIn your newsletter this week, customized according to your company’s business model, Microsoft Partner Network membership, and your role, you’ll find the latest partner-related information and news to help you utilize your membership benefits, understand your opportunities and close business, and build your skills. Role-based training recommendations for this issue are about the Data Platform competency. Visit and sign in to the U.S. partner portal for the latest news about products and programs, and check out our blog series aligned to your membership and areas of interest.

Featured this week – Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 end of support

Did you know that it’s been ten years since Microsoft released the Windows XP operating system? In April 2014, Microsoft will end support for both Windows XP Service Pack 3 and Microsoft Office 2003. End of support means there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates. Help your small and medium business customers move to the modern desktop, and avoid security and compliance risks in their business.

  • Learn more about what end of support means and get technical resources for migrating customers to Windows 7 and Windows 8, as well as to current Office versions.
  • The Windows XP End of Support campaign can help you prepare for conversations about moving to Windows 8.
  • With the release of the new Office 365 for businesses, the value proposition of the cloud for your customers just gets better. Help your customers increase their IT flexibility, reduce deployment costs, and improve their operations management by helping them move to the cloud. Use our guide to Cloud Essentials, a cloud program for which all Microsoft Partner Network members are eligible, to get cloud-related benefits, training, and sales resources.
  • For resources that help you talk to your customers about the new Office, on-premises or in the cloud, check out these campaigns:

2013 Worldwide Partner Conference

Early-Bird Discount for WPC 2013 Ends April 5
Come partner with us at the Worldwide Partner Conference, July 7–11 in Houston, Texas. At WPC, you'll get insight into our product and technology roadmap, learn about our strategies and initiatives for the coming year, and find out what's new with the Microsoft Partner Network. Through April 5, take advantage of early-bird savings of $200 on your all-access conference pass and pay just $1,795.

Register for TechEd 2013 by March 22 and Save
Join us in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 3–6 for Microsoft TechEd 2013. At our premier event for IT professionals and developers, you'll get hands-on learning, deep product exploration, and countless opportunities to build relationships with a community of Microsoft experts and your peers.

Recognition That Matters—Partner of the Year Award Nominations Close April 5
Partner of the Year awards celebrate partner achievement in delivering Microsoft-based solutions that delight our mutual customers. Winners and finalists benefit from market recognition, press coverage, and new business opportunities. Submissions must be completed online by April 5 (step-by-step submission guidance). We would love to see you on stage at the Worldwide Partner Conference! Official rules.

Be Recognized at WPC 2013 for Sales Excellence
Partner of the Year awards celebrate partner achievement in delivering Microsoft-based solutions that delight our mutual customers. Two Sales Excellence awards this year honor individuals who are active in the Microsoft Sales Specialist and Microsoft Presales Technical Specialist programs and who demonstrate exceptional product knowledge and sales expertise. Official rules.

AnnouncementsAnnouncements

Office 365 Solution Selling: An Effective Sales Process to Qualify Customers
Our Microsoft Office 365 Joint Solution Selling resources can help you have more meaningful Office 365 and cloud conversations in every customer meeting, and improve the cost and predictability of your cloud sales cycle. After you've used these materials with customers, share your feedback about your experiences.

Talk to Your Customers About the Cloud
Help your customers increase their IT flexibility, reduce deployment costs, and improve their operations management by helping them move to the cloud. The Cloud Easy offer lets your customers earn partner subsidy dollars on their Microsoft Online Services subscription purchases—dollars they can apply to additional software licenses, subscriptions, or services. Offer ends May 31. Offer terms and conditions.

Encourage Your Customers to Upgrade to the New On-Premises Microsoft Releases
With the aggressive refresh cycle of Microsoft products over the past year, it's the right time to talk to your customers about upgrading to use the new features and functionality that help increase operational efficiency, data management, productivity, and collaboration. The Big Easy Offer 10 covers a wide variety of popular Microsoft on-premises software. Offer ends May 31. Offer terms and conditions.

Join the New Microsoft Partner Support Community
Connect with experts and other partners at no cost to get answers to your product, developer, presales, and Microsoft Partner Network membership questions. The Support Community includes improved search capabilities with results from the forums and TechNet, MSDN, and the Microsoft Community. You can also request private communications with a Microsoft expert within any forum.

Nominate Your Small Business Customer for a Windows 8 Ignite Case Study
We want to hear about your interesting and unique Windows 8 success story with a small business customer and give you an opportunity to be part of our Windows 8 marketing efforts. Through March 25, US partners can nominate their small business customers—companies with fewer than 100 employees—who are ready to make the move to Windows 8 to participate in a case study.

Add the Microsoft Small Business Competency to Your Achievements
If you currently serve small business customers, consider adding the Small Business competency to your membership. Only one Microsoft Certified Professional is required. You receive competency-level benefits and Microsoft Office 365 licenses for internal use. The enrollment fee to earn the Silver Small Business competency is just $999 through June 30.

Health Partner Community Webcast—Anatomy of a Sale in Health
The new Microsoft Health Partner Exchange connects you with the Microsoft Health teams and other partners in a whole new way with events, networking, and discussions. Sign in to catch the newest 20-minute webcast, "Anatomy of a Sale in Health," featuring two former health CIOs. Get the latest on Windows 8, Office, and more while you connect with Microsoft teams and other partners.

Government Partners Community Webcast—GovNews: News and Updates in Government
The new Microsoft Government Partner Exchange connects you with the Microsoft Government teams and other partners in a whole new way with events, networking, and discussions. Sign in to catch the newest 20-minute webcast called "GovNews," featuring Microsoft and industry experts. Get the latest on Windows 8, Office, Microsoft Dynamics, and more while you connect with Microsoft teams and other partners.

Put the New Microsoft SQL Server Marketing Campaign to Work
Don't miss out on the latest marketing resources in the SQL Server 2012 campaign. Our Ready-to-Go Marketing experts have created a new set of sales tools to help you generate leads and increase revenue. Get started by using the newly updated event tool to create your next SQL Server 2012 event today.

Enter to Win $3,500 with the ASPIRE Awards
Share your Ready-to-Go Marketing success story and you could win our grand prize, a $3,500 American Express gift card. This is your chance to show off your most creative, innovative, and successful campaigns. And it's a great opportunity to get the accolades you deserve. Entries must be received by April 30. Official rules.

Windows Intune Partner Marketing Kit
New resources to market and sell Windows Intune include customizable datasheet, email template, banner ad, and telesales script.

Windows Intune Partner Digest – March Issue
Download your copy of the March issue of the Windows Intune Partner Digest. You'll get a summary of what's new with Intune across promotions, programs, licensing, Cloud Partner benefits, evidence, and more.

Microsoft Office Quick Start Guides
If you've recently upgraded to the new Office, download these guides and share them with your colleagues and customers, too. You will find helpful Microsoft Office 2013 Quick Start Guides for each of the Microsoft Office products, all in one place. These printable guides contain useful tips, shortcuts, and screenshots to help you navigate through the material.

Get Expert Guidance for Building Your Windows 8 Gaming App
Get expert guidance and development tools to ignite your ideas and help your app stand out in the Windows Store. Sign up on our Windows Dev Center, and we'll provide what you need from start to finish to make coding apps and games a snap. Get the tools and support you need to bring your great idea to millions.

Get More from Big Data with Windows Azure
Take advantage of the enterprise-ready Apache Hadoop service on Windows Azure and tame your Big Data for better business insight. Use the Microsoft SQL Server Connector for Apache Hadoop (SQL Server-Hadoop Connector) RTM to enable efficient data transfer between SQL Server and Hadoop. Try a free 90-day trial today.

March 19 at Convergence: Microsoft Dynamics ERP SMB Partner Awards and Networking Event
Join the Microsoft Dynamics U.S. Partner Team at The Foundry in New Orleans for a recognition and networking event with Microsoft Dynamics leaders, SPLA Cloud Service Providers, and Marketing Service Bureau vendors.

Download the February 2013 Update of the SPLA Recognition Guide
The Microsoft Dynamics SPLA Partner Recognition Guide has been updated. The February 2013 edition includes all the latest changes and tips on how to deal with SPLA adjustments, customer adds, revenue checks, and more.

Configure Microsoft Dynamics AX Connector for Mobile Applications White Paper for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012
This paper describes how to configure an environment that is running Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 so that users can connect the Microsoft Dynamics AX mobile phone application.

Special Offers from the Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Services Bureau
The Marketing Services Bureau a wide variety of marketing services for partners. This month's special offers include marketing plan creation and reviews, free marketing office hours, and social selling content.

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 and Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 Easy Start Offer
The Easy Start Offer is a 40% discount pack for your prospects' first three users, and can help you sell more Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 and Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013. Offer ends June 15. Terms and conditions.

Microsoft Dynamics AX BOGO Boost Promotion
Microsoft Dynamics AX can help your customers accelerate their business performance. With the BOGO Boost promotions, customers that buy one Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Enterprise CAL get one Functional CAL free. There is no maximum to the number of licenses they can buy with this special offer. Offer ends June 20. Terms and conditions.

NOTICE: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Internet Lead Capture Extended to March 30
When we discontinued the Internet Lead Capture offering on February 15, we heard from customers that they needed additional time to transition off this service. In response, we are extending this service for existing users to March 30. Although customers will be able to access the service, they will receive no support for any issues stemming from their use of the service.

Create New Demo Accounts for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online
As we transition Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online subscriptions to the Microsoft Online Services environment, we are not transitioning demo accounts. To create a new demo account for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online in the Microsoft Online Services Environment, follow the steps on PartnerSource.

Ends March 29: Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics NAV Customers a la Carte Module Offer
Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics NAV customers are eligible to receive up to 30% off of Microsoft standard list price when purchasing two or more select a la carte modules or granules. Use promotion code: 1627. Details and terms and conditions.

Ends March 29: Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics NAV Customers a la Carte Module Offer
Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics NAV customers are eligible to receive up to 30% off the Microsoft standard list price when purchasing two or more select a la carte modules or granules. Use promotion code 1627. Details and terms and conditions.

Big Easy and Cloud Easy Offers for Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Customers can take advantage of two new offers for Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft CRM Online that fit their organization's unique IT productivity and investment requirements. Through May 31, use the Big Easy Offer 10 and Cloud Easy offer to talk to your customers about deploying the latest versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premises or in the cloud.

Recommend the Grow your Business Kit to Your Customers
Microsoft offers a kit for customers that includes the Focus Research white paper about readying your business for ERP; top reasons to purchase a business solution; customer stories; and details about cloud and on-premises deployments. Encourage your customers to download this kit and use it as the basis for a rich discussion about their needs.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Technical Decision Maker Deck
The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Technical Decision Maker deck is an all-encompassing presentation providing a technical overview of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Further sections within the deck drill into specific topics that contain detailed technical information needed for influencing the technical audience. This deck is targeted at Technical Decision Makers, also known as TDM or ITDM.

Training resourcesTraining resources

March Partner Training Calendar
Use the Hot Sheet to register for in-person training, live webcasts, and partner calls taking place in March. These training activities can help you understand the latest Microsoft product features, take advantage of new business opportunities, and meet competency requirements. April's calendar will be published by March 20, so you can plan ahead.

New Spring Training Sweepstakes: Windows Server 2012, Microsoft System Center 2012
Receive automatic prize drawing entries when you take any of our featured Windows Server 2012, Microsoft SQL Server 2012, Microsoft System Center 2012, or Windows Intune training. There are courses for every role, and we are giving away $100 American Express gift cards and Dr. Dre Beats headphones. Read the official rules.

Starting March 25: Get Your MCSA for Windows Server 2012
Prepare for the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) exam 70-417 for Windows Server 2012 in the evenings. A new certification program offering from Microsoft and the IAMCP lets you take prep classes live online in the evenings and get lab time on Saturdays. Register by March 18 to receive the class materials in time for the March 25 class start date.

90 Days to MCSA Program—Free Certification Prep Tools for Windows Server and SQL Server
The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification validates your foundation of core technical skills and prepares you for a sustainable IT career. Use the free certification prep tools and take the 90-day challenge to move your IT career to the cloud.

20 Days of 20 Ways: Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Azure
Keith Mayer and his fellow IT Pro Technical Evangelists have a series of articles to help you get started with migrating and deploying Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows Azure, and System Center 2012 SP1.

March 19 Hands-on Lab: Windows 8—Implementing Searching and Sharing in Your App
Join Technical Evangelist Jeff Brand for this Hands-on Labs Online (HOLO) training event and learn how to implement searching and sharing in your Windows 8 app using JavaScript. All HOLO events begin with a live presentation followed by time to work on virtual lab exercises.

March 20 Hands-on Lab—Training with Windows Azure
Join Technical Evangelist Yung Chou for this Hands-on Labs Online (HOLO) training event where you will learn how to connect a PaaS application to an IaaS application with a virtual network.

April 29–May 3: Practice Accelerator for Windows 8 and the Flexible Workstyle
Register for the new Practice Accelerator Flexible Workstyle for Windows 8. Organizations need to allow users access to corporate information via a broad range of technologies and platform, and to address scenarios such as bring your own device. Get reusable tools and best practices to develop an effective strategy to maximize productivity and delight the user.

Using SkyDrive with Your Windows 8 Apps
Jerry Nixon and Harrison Hoffman from the SkyDrive team discuss how developers can utilize SkyDrive for their Windows 8 apps. Tune in as they discuss the best use scenarios for SkyDrive as well as comparisons to Windows Azure.

April 9–10: Sales Success System Training in Boston
The Sales Success System from Ninety Five 5 will help you develop a sales success plan for your territory and accounts, create demand, structure more effective conversations with customers, and improve how you communicate customer value. Space is limited.

April 9–12 in Mason, Ohio: Lync 2013 Technical Ignite Training
This workshop is for partners who are proficient in Microsoft Lync Server 2010 and want to stay ahead of the market. It includes presentations that cover a wide variety of Lync topics, both on-premises and online, and hands-on labs that create an interactive Lync experience.

April 9–11 in Miami, Florida: Microsoft Exchange, Office, and Office 365 Ignite Workshop
This workshop has been designed as deep technical training for IT implementers and Exchange administrators who either develop, design, or deploy for their organizations or customers. It is offered free of cost. Use registration code O15PARTMIA.

April 11–12: Sales Success System Training in Chicago
The Sales Success System from Ninety Five 5 will help you develop a sales success plan for your territory and accounts, create demand, structure more effective conversations with customers, and improve how you communicate customer value. Space is limited.

TechNet Radio: Provisioning Storage for I/O-Intensive Applications on Windows Azure
Blain Barton and Don Noonan show you how to provision storage for I/O-intensive applications on Windows Azure such as SQL Server. Don demos how he took a SQL Server workload and moved that to a Windows Azure Virtual Machine. You'll also get tips for planning your project: workload size vs. performance, separate storage accounts, and the disk management console.

TechNet Radio: ITProGuru vs. Hyper-V Replica
Dan Stolts welcomes Clyde Johnson from the Boston Area Windows Server User Group to TechNet Radio to discuss and demo Hyper-V Replica included in Windows Server 2012. Tune in as they give an overview of what Hyper-V Replica is, why it's important for businesses as a disaster recovery solution, and how to get started implementing this free service in your IT environment.

TechNet Radio: Deploying Windows Server 2012 Using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit
Blain Barton welcomes Microsoft Deployment MVP Rhonda Layfield to the TechNet Radio show to kick off a three-part series about tools you can use to deploy Windows Server 2012. In part 1, they discuss what's new in the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 Update 1.

Microsoft DevRadio: Practical Azure with Jim O'Neil—Worker Roles
Web Roles are the public face of your application and get the user's attention, but it's the Worker Role that does the less glamorous heavy-lifting by carrying out all the background processing and managing database and data storage interaction.

Microsoft DevRadio: Roaming Your Windows 8 App Data
Jerry Nixon welcomes Dan Somrack and Dave Bennett to DevRadio to talk about why you would want to roam your Windows 8 app data, and how to do it.

Microsoft DevRadio: Using Windows Azure to Build Back-End Services for Windows 8 Apps—Part 2
Technical Evangelists Peter Laudati, Brian Hitney, and Andrew Duthie show you how to deploy the OData Service for a Windows 8 app to Windows Azure and outline the advantages and disadvantages to building back-end services using this approach.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Enterprise Academy
You are invited to Atlanta, Georgia, April 22–26 or Chicago, Illinois, May 20–24 to attend the newly developed Microsoft Dynamics CRM Enterprise Academy. This instructor-led training provides a 200-level Functional CRM foundation and 300-level Advanced Development and Advanced Infrastructure content for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.

Windows 8 Application Developer Starter Kit for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012
Discover what the Windows Application Developer starter kit offers to help developers build beautiful touch-first applications for Windows 8 that enhance the agility of Microsoft Dynamics AX. In this on-demand webcast, we'll take a walk through a day in the life of a developer building a Windows 8 companion app for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. You'll learn best-practices design patterns focused around usability, integration, and security.

April 2 in Chicago, Illinois: Demo2win Workshop
Come to Demo2Win to learn the tactics and receive the tools you need to give you the edge and improve your close rate. Learn how the 80/20 rule applies to your presentations and move from good to great in the eyes of your prospects. This is the only offering of this course planned for the next several months.

April 3 in Chicago, Illinois: Discovery2win Workshop
Come to Discovery2Win and get the tools you need to improve your sales process. Walk into your next customer presentation confident you will be able to explain the value the prospect is looking for you to deliver. This is the only offering of this course planned for the next several months.

March 28 Webcast for Customers: Using Microsoft Dynamics ERP to Compete and Grow
In today's competitive environment, you need more than a backward-looking system of record to be successful. Learn how Microsoft Dynamics ERP can address your business challenges. Join the discussion to see a solution that's proactive and predictive, with built-in workflows that guide your employees forward through their work.

Microsoft Dynamics ERP On-Demand Webcast Library
Encourage your customers to take advantage of the Microsoft Dynamics ERP library of on-demand webcasts that focus on the different ways Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions can help them organize, expand, and advance their business.

Featured training

Featured training – Data Platform
Earning the Data Platform competency, or simply meeting the requirements, can help you deepen your team’s Microsoft SQL Server expertise and showcase your ability to develop and deploy database solutions.

Training for Business Decision Makers and Training Professionals  
April 8: Practice Accelerator for Data Center Consolidation and Migration

Build Your Data Platform Learning Plan

Data Platform Learning Path

Competency Benefits

Silver Competency Requirements

Gold Competency Requirements

Training for IT Professionals

April 8: Practice Accelerator for Data Center Consolidation and Migration

Modernizing Your Enterprise with Hybrid IT

Rapid Data Exploration with Microsoft Excel 2013

Mission Critical—Blazing Fast Performance: ColumnStore Indexes

Build Your Data Platform Learning Plan

Data Platform Learning Path

Training for Developers

SQL Server 2012 Core Presentation

SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn Availability Groups

SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn Failover Clustering and Reliability

Introducing SQL Server 2012 Cloud-Ready Information Platform

Build Your Data Platform Learning Plan

Data Platform Learning Path

Training for Sales and Marketing Roles

SQL Server 2012 and the New World of Data

SQL Server 2012 for Private Cloud

Breakthrough Insights with SQL Server 2012

Transforming the Data Center with Cloud OS

Build Your Data Platform Learning Plan

Data Platform Learning Path

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