imageWelcome to this week’s issue of the US Partner News online! Usually, you find the latest news and information for Microsoft partners here every Friday. This week’s issue was delayed so I could include today’s Surface announcement.

Read previous issues at http://aka.ms/uspnewsletter. To subscribe by email to receive these weekly online issues, go to http://aka.ms/uspblog, and you’ll see this option under “Subscribe and follow” on the top right.

Top Stories

imageAnnouncing Surface 2, Surface Pro 2, and New Surface Accessories
Two new Surface models—Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2—along with an expanded portfolio of new Surface accessories, will be available at Microsoft retail stores and select third-party retailers in October. Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 each benefit from significant updates, including improvements to processing power and battery life, to display and camera resolution, and to the Kickstand, now with dual angles, so it’s more comfortable for you to use your Surface on your lap or at your desk.

imageRegister Today for SMB Live: Get in the Cloud Events in October and November
SMB Live: Get in the Cloud is a multi-city tour for Microsoft partners who serve SMB customers in the United States. At these events, you’ll get expert guidance from Microsoft about the fundamentals needed to build a successful cloud practice, learn how to make money selling Microsoft Office 365, understand the licensing models, and hear best practices from partners who have succeeded in the cloud. Space is limited, so register today for the event nearest you.

Bring the Productivity Story Alive for Customers with the Microsoft Experience Center
Firmly established as our premier productivity platform selling motion in the enterprise, the Microsoft Experience Center (MEC) offers in-person, hands-on experiences that win over business professionals, differentiate Microsoft from the competition, and strongly contribute to closing business. On our blog, Benjamin Wolf, Product Manager and MEC lead, talks about the value of MEC to both partners and customers, and tells you how to get started.

Windows Phone 8 Earns Key Government Security Certification
Windows Phone 8 recently reached an important new security milestone, earning a key government accreditation called FIPS 140-2. Read about the significance of this accreditation for US and Canadian government customers and other industries that value this validation.

Resources

Join the US Partner Community on Yammer
Follow the four easy steps in our guidance document to join and start participating in the US Partner Community on Yammer.

Partner Guide to Cloud OS Resources
Our new Partner Guide to Cloud OS Resources provides you with links to the information and resources you need to understand the Microsoft Cloud OS vision and opportunity; prepare for the new releases of Windows Server, System Center, and Windows Intune coming next month; and engage with Microsoft.

Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for September 2013
The September 2013 security updates cover Internet Explorer, Microsoft .NET Framework, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Server Software, and Windows. You can watch the September webcast on demand, and register for the next webcast on October 9. The next security bulletin release is on Tuesday, October 8.

DisclosureGuide_contentsMicrosoft Partner Network Disclosure Guide: Competency Updates in January 2014
In January, the Management and Virtualization, Server Platform, and Identity and Access competencies will be merged into one competency, Datacenter. This change reflects the evolution of Microsoft products that are part of the Cloud OS story—Windows Server, System Center, and Windows Azure. Download the disclosure guide for more information about this change and others.

Windows Phone 8 Offers Strong Security for Increasingly Mobile Workforces
Windows Phone 8 has a built-in, multilayered, defense-in-depth approach to help protect customers against malware, data leakage, and other security threats. Read more about multilayer security architecture, secure boot technology, app sandboxing, and more.

Training and Certification

October Hot Sheet: Find and Register for Upcoming Training and Partner Calls
The Hot Sheet is a frequently updated schedule of live virtual and in-person training and informational calls that are coming in the next few weeks. Subscribe to the US Partner Learning blog to receive the Hot Sheet as soon as it's published each month.

Three Ways to Save on Microsoft Certification Exams
Take advantage of offers for Microsoft Certifications that will help you demonstrate your Microsoft product and technology expertise. Your company can increase its capabilities for serving customers, and may be able to meet competency requirements, too.

  • MPN members can purchase 5-packs or 20-packs of qualifying exams at a deeply discounted price. This offer ends December 31. Exams must be taken by May 31, 2014. These exams do not include a Second Shot.
  • Single exam vouchers can be purchased with Second Shot for 070- and 071- prefix exams until May 31, 2014.
  • Exam vouchers for specified certification tracks for Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD), and Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) can save you 15% off single exam pricing.

Microsoft SQL Server Exam Preparation Training
IT professionals can prepare for SQL Server 2012 exams 70-462 and 70-463 with these trainings from the IAMCP that offer an alternative to full-day courses. The training is delivered virtually by an instructor. Attendance is two hours daily, Monday–Thursday, for four weeks.

Drumbeat Sales Training for Office 365
Register to attend one of three full-day sales training sessions for Office 365. Intended for sales and presales technical roles, the agenda includes best practices, programs, and sales tools, plus insights into the cloud services market and the opportunity for partners that invest in an Office 365 practice.

imageCalendar Through October 4

This list is a sampling of upcoming partner calls, training, and events for the next two weeks. Refer to the October Hot Sheet for a comprehensive list of partner activities for the next several weeks that’s frequently updated.

September 24 – Selling to Education in the New World of Devices and Services

September 24 – Microsoft Dynamics Hour Call with MBS Operations (on PartnerSource)

September 24 – Windows Server 2012 R2 Storage Jump Start: New Choices

September 24 – SharePoint Hosting Using Windows Azure

September 25 – Forefront Identity Manager – Product Overview and Advantages

September 25 – IT Camp for Windows Azure in Irvine, California  

September 25 – IT Camp for Windows Azure in Waukesha, Wisconsin

September 26 – IT Camp for Windows Azure in Alpharetta, Georgia

September 26 – IT Camp for Windows Azure in Rochester, New York

September 26 – IT Camp for Windows Azure in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

September 26 – Cloud 1-2-3 Webcast: Tech Dive Into the Office 365 Migration Tool, Directory Sync and the Office (See the series listing here

September 26 – Chalk Talk: Business Intelligence in Microsoft Dynamics GP

September 27 – IT Camp for Windows Azure in Richmond, Virginia

October 1 – SMB Live: Get in the Cloud in Sunnyvale, California (See other cities and dates here)

October 2 – SMB Live: Get in the Cloud in Denver, Colorado (See other cities and dates here)

October 2 – Operation Azure: Infrastructure as a Service Webcast #1

October 3 – Cloud 1-2-3 Webcast: Expert Tips to Upsell Your Existing Office 365 Customers (See the series listing here

October 4 – SMB Live: Get in the Cloud in San Francisco, California (See other cities and dates here)

Featured Video

Watch this video of the Surface 2 Launch Event in New York City. Panos Panay, Microsoft vice president for Surface, talks about the next generation of the Surface family: Surface 2, Surface Pro 2, and some amazing new accessories. You can also read more about these announcements and products from Panos on the Surface Blog.

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