imageWelcome to this week’s issue of the US Partner News Online! Each week, we’ll bring you the latest news and information for Microsoft partners. You can read previous weeks’ issues at http://aka.ms/uspnewsletter. If you’d like to see the next post in your email inbox, go to http://aka.ms/uspblog and enter your email address under “Subscribe and follow” on the right hand side.

Top Stories

Windows 8.1 Released and Generally Available
Windows 8.1 is here, and for customers with a Windows 8 device, the update is free through the Windows Store. Resources:

New Cloud OS Products Released and Generally Available
Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, and the new release of Windows Intune are now generally available. Along with Windows Azure and SQL Server, they comprise a powerful platform that meets the new needs customers have as they adopt cloud computing and use more cloud services. Resources:

Earn More with SMB Advantage and the Hyper-V Surge Offer – SMB Advantage Ends November 30
Partners that sell Windows Server 2012 Datacenter or Windows Server 2012 Standard to SMB customers, and install the server with Hyper-V deployed by November 30, can earn up to 25% per license. Refer to the Offer site for more details. The Hyper-V Surge offer is part of SMB Advantage, which ends November 30. SMB Advantage Terms and Conditions.

Price Increase for WPC 2014 Early Registration on November 1
Through October 31, you can register for your all-access pass to WPC 2014 in Washington, D.C. for $1,695. The price will increase on November 1. Details and terms and conditions.

For a Limited Time, Earn the Small Business Silver Competency for $999
If you serve small business customers and are starting to capitalize on the cloud opportunity, consider earning the MPN Small Business competency. Take advantage of this limited-time offer to earn the Small Business silver competency and pay a fee of $999, significantly lower than the standard fee of $1,850. Offer ends January 31, 2014. Terms and conditions.

Resources

imageDownload the New October Version of the MPN Disclosure Guide
The MPN disclosure guide is a comprehensive look at the changes planned for the program across all membership levels. The guide is divided into four categories: News and announcements; Program-wide changes that affect all partner levels; Microsoft Action Pack subscription changes, and Competency-specific changes. Download the updated guide to understand what is changing, when the changes are effective, and how it may affect your company.

Join the Lync Partners Group in the US Partner Community on Yammer
If your practice includes Microsoft Lync, or you’re considering adding it to your Microsoft practice and earning the Communications competency, join the Lync Partners group on Yammer. Microsoft experts from across the business are providing regular updates about partner resources and training. To join the group, you must first join the US Partner Community Yammer network. Instructions at http://docs.com/SLTC.

Student Advantage for Office 365 Education VL Customers
Student Advantage is a new student benefit for Office 365 Education volume licensing customers. Starting December 1, any education organization fully covering faculty and staff with Office can include students at no additional cost, allowing students to download Office 365 ProPlus with their school’s Org ID. Sign into the Microsoft Education Partner Network (MEPN) to download partner-ready materials about Student Advantage, including Sales Guidance, Licensing Guidance, and an FAQ.

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.

Training and Certification

Stay informed about training opportunities that align to your business, role, and Microsoft Partner Network membership.

Use the November Hot Sheet to 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.

Show Off Your Cloud Sales Skills and Earn an Entry to Win a Microsoft Store Gift Card
Demonstrate your cloud expertise as a Sales Specialist or Presales Technical specialist. Your accreditation Communications, Messaging, Small Business, Private Cloud, Management and Virtualization, or Server Platform also earns you an entry to win a Microsoft Store gift card. Official rules. No purchase necessary. Open only to authorized representatives of companies actively enrolled in the Microsoft Partner Network who are US residents (including Washington, DC), age 18 years and older. Game ends December 31, 2013.

imageAccelerate. Improve. Expand. Build New Deployment Capabilities Quickly with Practice Accelerator
If you deploy Office 365, Microsoft SharePoint, Business Intelligence or Cloud OS/Private Cloud, your organization will benefit from Practice Accelerator. These sessions can be attended by several people from your organization, so that all roles involved in building and deploying a solution can take advantage of the framework of resources that span from pre-engagement to post-delivery.

October 29: Explore Your Technology Opportunities at Microsoft Insights Virtual Live Event
Microsoft Insights is a combination of events and resources that provides guidance for those seeking to advance their technical skills or start their technology career. Attend Microsoft Insights and you’ll also have the chance to win a certification exam pack.

Windows Azure Training for Business, Sales, and Technical Readiness
There are plenty of opportunities to get your sales and technical teams trained on Windows Azure, plus understand how to build your Microsoft practice for Azure. See our recommendations for in-person, live virtual, and on demand training. We also invite you to join the new Azure Partners group in the US Partner Community on Yammer.

imageCalendar Through November 1

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

October 21 – Practice Accelerator for Windows 8 Flexible Workstyle

October 21 – The Server and Cloud Enrollment Briefing (two options: 7:00AM Pacific Time and 5:00PM Pacific Time)

October 21 – SMB Live: Get in the Cloud in Chicago, Illinois | Dallas, Texas | Los Angeles, California (more dates/cities at http://aka.ms/smb-live-cloud)

October 22 – Practice Accelerator for Search, Social, and Portals and Collaboration

October 22 – IT Camp: Virtualization in Austin, Texas and in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina

October 22 – Developer Camp: Sharpening Your Skills on the Modern Microsoft Platform in San Francisco, California

October 22 – Practice Accelerator for SharePoint 2013

October 22 – SMB Live: Get in the Cloud in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (more dates/cities at http://aka.ms/smb-live-cloud)

October 23 – Microsoft Store for Partners Networking Event in Cincinnati, Ohio

October 23 – Windows Azure Developer Camp: Make It Happen in the Cloud

October 24 – Practice Accelerator for Datacenter Infrastructure and Management

October 24 – IT Camp: Virtualization in Waukesha, Wisconsin | Alpharetta, Georgia | Rochester, New York

October 24 – Cloud 1-2-3: Tech Dive into SharePoint Online (Part 2) (see full series list at http://aka.ms/fx646s)

October 25 – Developing SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions Jump Start

October 25 – Windows Azure at Your Doorstep in Irvine, California and Phoenix, Arizona (more dates/cities here)

October 25 – Microsoft Store for Partners Networking Event in San Diego, California

October 28 – Microsoft Store for Partners Networking Event in Miami, Florida

October 29 – Microsoft Insights Virtual Event for IT Professionals

October 29 – Windows Azure Developer Camp: Make It Happen in the Cloud in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and San Diego, California

October 31 – Cloud 1-2-3: Expand Your Cloud Practice Beyond Office 365 with Windows Azure

Featured Video

Watch this video about the Cloud Deployment Program. Eligible MPN members that are actively deploying Microsoft Office 365 that join CDP have access to deployment planning tools and support, incentives, technical training, and more.

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