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.

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Top Stories

Your Mobility Opportunity: The Sky’s the Limit for Partners
On the Arts and Sciences of Partnership blog, Jenni Flinders, the Microsoft US Channel Chief, talks about how Microsoft partners are creating business-focused Windows 8 and Windows Phone apps that increase customer productivity, wherever they are.

imageFree Ebooks: High Quality Technical Content from Microsoft Press
The Microsoft Learning team offers you a series of focused, high quality Microsoft Press books that you can download at no cost. Use them to help prepare for your next Microsoft Certification exam or Microsoft-based project. 

Are Your Customers Ready for the End of Windows XP, Office 2003, and Exchange 2003 Support?
Microsoft support for Windows XP, Office 2003, and Exchange 2003 ends April 8, 2014—fewer than 100 days away. Help your customers move their IT infrastructure to current, supported versions of these products. Our resources will provide you with the information you need to start the customer conversation, assess their current environments, and help them upgrade.

Microsoft Health Users Group Innovation Awards 2014
If your company is an ISV or system integrator that created an innovative, Microsoft-based solution for a healthcare organization this year, consider working with your customer to submit it as an entry for the Microsoft Health Users Group Innovation Awards 2014. Submissions are being accepted through 5:00PM on Monday, January 27.

imageSMB Partners: Increase Your Profitability with Windows Server 2012 R2
The technology landscape for small and medium businesses is changing, and we can help you be ready for it. Take advantage of the growing opportunities in virtualization, disaster recovery, and affordable storage by attending this webcast series. These live webcasts cover both deep technical content and sales strategies.

January 29 and 30 in San Antonio, Texas: Microsoft Dynamics AX and CRM Industry Summit
This year’s Summit theme is AMPLIFY, and content and activities will focus on strengthening your business, connection, and sales in these areas:

  • Hone your ability to utilize Microsoft Dynamics to be more competitive in your industry;
  • Accelerate your industry focus through insights within the market by learning from industry experts;
  • Connect and understand IP and ISV solutions that extend Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM.

February 3–5 in Bellevue, Washington: Microsoft Dynamics AX Technical Conference
Whether you’re new to Microsoft Dynamics AX or you’re looking to go deeper with your product knowledge, the Technical Conference provides you the opportunity to stay up-to-date on upcoming capabilities to be released, and to connect and interact directly with the people that build Microsoft Dynamics AX.

Resources

imagePrepare for February Changes to the Microsoft Partner Network
The MPN disclosure guide is your source of the latest information about the changes planned for the Microsoft Partner Network. It has been updated to reflect the new timeline for program updates that we announced in November. Several changes take effect in February 2014. Download and use the guide to understand what those changes are and how they may affect your company.

January Security Bulletin
The next security bulletin release is on Tuesday, January 14. Review the December 2013 security updates, which cover Internet Explorer, Microsoft Developer Tools, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Lync, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Server software, and Windows. You can watch the December webcast on demand, and register for the next webcast, on January 15.

Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit for Windows 8.1
The Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) is a downloadable collection of tools you can use to customize, assess, and deploy Windows operating systems to new computers.

Training and Certification

January 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.

Improve Your Company’s Time to Deployment
In a Practice Accelerator, you get a detailed framework of resources that spans from pre-engagement to post-delivery that will improve your company's efficiency so you can deploy solutions faster. The schedule for January through March is now posted and includes Practice Accelerators for Windows 8, Data Center, Business Intelligence, Office 365, and SharePoint 2013.

Cloud OS OpportunityDatacenter Training and Sweepstakes for Presales Technical Roles
Take the Transform the Datacenter Immersion courses to understand the benefits that  transforming a modern datacenter can provide customers. You’ll learn the key steps and technology capabilities in planning, deploying, and managing this type of environment—a Cloud OS solution that includes Windows Server, Microsoft System Center, and Windows Azure.

When you complete a module’s assessment, you’ll earn an entry to our sweepstakes. Sweepstakes ends March 31, 2014. Open only to authorized representatives of companies enrolled in the Microsoft Partner Network with a valid MPN ID who are legal residents of the US, age 18 and older. Limit 20 entries per person. Official rules.

What’s New in VDI for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1
Watch this two-module series for a complete understanding of the end-to-end process for implementing desktop virtualization using Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1. Topics include virtual desktop configuration and management, leveraging tiered storage and storage de-duplication using Windows Server 2012 R2, demonstrating the remote desktop capabilities of devices such as Windows RT, iOS, and Android, and more.

Microsoft Dynamics ERP Certification Promotion Extended to January 31
Requirements for the Microsoft Partner Network ERP competency are changing to reflect the most current certifications for GP 2013 and NAV 2013. Pass a qualifying Microsoft Certification exam by January 31 and be entered to win a Surface Pro 2 with Type Cover 2 Keyboard. Sweepstakes details and official rules.

MS_rgb_Dynamics_Blu288_stackMicrosoft Dynamics Partners Training Schedule
Over the next few months, there are several virtual and in-person opportunities to increase your knowledge of Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Microsoft Dynamics ERP. We also cover upcoming Microsoft Dynamics training in the US Partner Training Hot Sheet.

January 14 – March 13: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Virtual Foundation Training Program
This virtual training program is delivered over 18 evening sessions and is designed for new or existing Microsoft Dynamics CRM Consultants to help build comprehensive insights to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 product. The class is held Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30PM to 10:00PM Central Time.

January 21: Windows 8.1 Developer Training – Geek Edition
HTML and XAML developers are invited to build core skills, have some fun, and discover great new features in Windows 8.1, in this live online Jump Start. We'll dive deep into gadgets and devices, including USB, Bluetooth, point of sale, and even 3D printing.

January 23: Windows Performance Jump Start
Join Microsoft Virtual Academy for a deep dive on the free Windows Performance Toolkit. In this Jump Start, you’ll learn how to tackle Windows performance issues that can impact organizations of all sizes running Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. 

imageCalendar Through January 17

December 31 – Last day to save on MPN Competency Exam Vouchers

December 31 – Last day to take eligible Sales accreditation assessments for a sweepstakes entry

December 31 – Last day to take eligible Presales Technical accreditation assessments for a sweepstakes entry

December 31 – Last day to save up to $2,000 on your booth presence at TechEd 2014

January 7 – Samurai Server Webcast: Tech Dive – Why Pay More to Virtualize (Hyper-V vs. VMWare)

January 9 – Cloud 1-2-3 Webcast: Showcase the Value of Office 365, Generate Leads, and Accelerate Sales Through MEC Demo

January 9 – Last day to save $300 on your Convergence 2014 registration

January 10 – East Region SMB Partner Call

January 13 – Business Intelligence Practice Accelerator (download the datasheet)

January 14 – Session 1 of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Virtual Foundation Training

January 14 – SharePoint Practice Accelerator (download the datasheet)

January 14 – Samurai Server Webcast: Selling Affordable Disaster Recovery Solutions with Windows Server 2012 R2

January 14 – January Security Bulletin release

January 15 – January Security Bulletin webcast

January 15 – Countdown2Modern Webcast: Why Upgrade Customers to Windows 8.1 and a Modern Desktop

January 16 – Session 2 of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Virtual Foundation Training

January 16 – Office 365 Practice Accelerator (download the datasheet)

January 16 – Virtualization Technology Users Group Conference

January 17 – Central Region SMB Partner Call

January 17 – West Region SMB Partner Call

Featured Video

In this video, the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group, led by Microsoft Channel Chief, Phil Sorgen, share their thoughts about working with partners in 2013 and excitement about the year ahead. Thank you for being a partner. Happy New Year!

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