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Welcome 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.
Plan for Program Changes Coming in February
In November, we announced a new timeline for MPN updates that were announced at the Worldwide Partner Conference in July 2013. Several changes will take effect in February. The list below is not exhaustive, but is a good overview of program-wide changes that may affect your company’s membership. For details about all of the changes, download the MPN disclosure guide.
We’re On the Road to Washington, D.C. – Stay Informed About WPC 2014 Now that we're fully into 2014, the US Partner Team has begun planning the US partner experience at WPC 2014. The Worldwide Partner Conference is our annual gathering for partners to network, drive business growth, and identify new opportunities. WPC 2014 is July 13-17 in Washington, D.C. Starting this month, there will be important announcements about key dates, Awards, offers, and more--information you'll want to know. Read our new blog post about where to learn more about why you should plan to attend WPC, and how to stay informed about your WPC opportunities.
Refer-A-Colleague Offer for WPC 2014 Starts January 13 From January 13-17, if you are already registered for WPC 2014, refer your colleagues to register. They save $100 on their all-access pass, and you can earn a $100 refund (up to a maximum of $1,000). Offer details and terms and conditions will be published on Monday, January 13 to the WPC 2014 website. We’ll make an announcement here on the US Partner Team blog, too.
Cloud 1-2-3 GO! Sweepstakes for SMB Partners Register your company to enter our sweepstakes, and then sell eligible SKUs of Microsoft Office 365 or Microsoft Exchange Online to your customers. For each qualifying sale between November 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, the registered company will earn entries into our Cloud 1-2-3 GO! Sweepstakes. No purchase necessary. Open only to companies based in the US (including the District of Columbia) enrolled in the Microsoft Partner Network that are not large account resellers (LARs), large-scale partners (LSPs), or government or academic sales. Sweepstakes ends June 30. Official rules.
The Countdown Is On: 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.
Resolve to Expand Your Services Practice This Year If expanding your services practice is one of your business resolutions, consider attending a Practice Accelerator. You'll get tools and materials designed to help you deliver repeatable solutions, at a quicker time to deployment. Sessions are available for these workloads:
Prepare for the 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.
Training and Certification
Stay informed about training opportunities that align to your business, role, and Microsoft Partner Network membership.
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. Look for the February issue during the week of January 13. Subscribe to the US Partner Learning blog to receive the Hot Sheet as soon as it's published each month.
Ring in the New Year with New Microsoft Certifications Build your product knowledge and capabilities by earning the certifications and accreditations that help you and your company stand out. Through May 31, MPN Competency Exam packs are available for 40% off a pack of 20 exams or 35% off a pack of 5 exams. You get a second shot to pass the exam if you need it, too. Individuals have until December 31 to schedule and take the qualifying exams in the packs.
January 27–31 Is Windows Azure Week on Microsoft Virtual Academy Join Microsoft Virtual Academy for Windows Azure Week, a free, real-time virtual conference. Get your questions answered by the people who are building Windows Azure, and learn how to start moving your existing applications to the cloud today.
Cloud OS Training Sweepstakes: Data Center and Data Insights Complete these hands-on, technically-focused trainings to learn how Windows Server, Microsoft System Center, and Windows Azure work together to transform the data center and unlock insights on any data. You will be entered into our sweepstakes for each module assessment you pass. Sweepstakes ends March 31. 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.
Calendar Through January 31
This list is a sampling of upcoming partner calls, training, and events. Refer to the January Hot Sheet for a comprehensive list for the next several weeks that's frequently updated, and look for the February Hot Sheet during the week of January 13.
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 – Cloud 1-2-3: Turbocharge Your Office 365 Business – Migrations Made Profitable with SkyKick and Turbo
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
January 21 – Samurai Server Webcast: Tech Dive – Disaster Recovery Solutions
January 21 – Windows 8.1 Developer Training: Geek Edition
January 22 – SharePoint Practice Accelerator (download the datasheet)
January 22 – Countdown2Modern Webcast: How to Target and Engage the Right Customers for Windows 8.1 and Office 365
January 23 – Windows Performance Jump Start
January 27 – Get Started with Windows Azure Today Jump Start
January 28 – Designing Applications for Windows Azure Jump Start
January 29 – Building Windows Azure Applications Jump Start
January 30 – Office 365 Practice Accelerator (download the datasheet)
January 30 – Windows Azure IaaS Deep Dive Jump Start
January 31 – Mobile Apps to IoT: Connected Devices with Windows Azure