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.

To stay in touch with me and connect with other partners and Microsoft sales, marketing, and product experts, join our US Partner Community on Yammer and choose how you want to stay informed.

Top Stories

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New Partner Guides that Help You Prepare for the February 24 MPN Update 
Just released, and posted to our MPN 101 group on Yammer, specific partner guidance for the changes to MPN that will take effect this month. There is a PowerPoint deck that contains all of the guidance, or you can review the guidance by topic: Action Pack, Cloud Programs and Internal Use Rights, Competency, Prepare Your Renewal, Summary of Changes. If you’re not yet a member of our US Partner Community on Yammer, request your invitation.

FederalForum_March4

March 4: Microsoft Virtual Federal Forum
Register for the Microsoft Virtual Federal Forum, streaming live from the Reagan Center in Washington, DC. The event, Real Impact for a Lean and Modern Federal Government, will give you an opportunity to hear from Microsoft executives, product solution leaders, Federal sales teams, and more. On Twitter, follow the conversation at #LeanGov.

February 21: West Region Team SMB Partner Call – Part 2: End-of-Life for Windows XP
Join the conversation with Microsoft and other SMB partners in our 60-minute call that covers technology, marketing, and sales updates. On February’s call, you’ll learn about SMB Live events that will help you get in the cloud and expand your portfolio; hear guest speaker, Kelly Flint of Constant Contact, talk about creating successful email campaigns; find out why your customers need to make the move from Windows XP and Exchange Server 2003 to supported versions, and more.

February 27 Partner-to-Partner YamJam: Learn About New Relic’s Windows Azure App
In our monthly YamJams, we are inviting Windows Azure ISVs to share information about their Azure-powered apps as a way to help you discover new solutions for your customers and identify new partnership opportunities. Join us on Yammer to meet Sylvia Vu, Kempton Izuno, and Maya Newhagen from New Relic. They will “Yam” about New Relic's all-in-one web application performance tool that lets you see performance for the end user experience, through servers, and down to the line of app code.

SMB Advantage: Cloud Easy Offer Extended Through February 28
With the SMB Advantage: Cloud Easy Offer, customers earn subsidy funds on Office 365 sales through Advisor, to pay for future purchases of Microsoft products and associated services from you. Encourage your customers to purchase Office 365 now and redeem within 30 days of purchase. Offer ends February 28. Terms and conditions.

Test Product Migration and Application Compatibility with Previous Versions 
Over 30 products from the collection of previously released trial software remaining under mainstream support have been re-released on the TechNet Evaluation Center to support your migration and application compatibility testing needs. Get the downloads and get started with migrating your customers to the most current Microsoft products. On Twitter, follow @MicrosoftTrials for regular updates about evaluation software.

Microsoft Security Bulletin for February 2014
The February 2014 security updates cover Microsoft .NET Framework, Microsoft Security Software, and Microsoft Windows. You can watch the February  webcast on demand, and register for the next webcast, on March 12. The next security bulletin release is on Tuesday, March 11.

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Get2Modern Platinum Program for SMB Customer Case Studies
Showcase your wins and great Windows 8 Pro adoption stories. Through June 30, the SMB Platinum program is accepting nominations for customer case studies. The top 20 SMB stories from our partners will be featured in our Platinum Program. If you have an SMB customer (under 500 employees) that has an interesting Windows 8 Pro story to tell, we want to hear from you.

March 3: You’re Invited to the Partner Event at Convergence 2014
There will be a partner-only event at Convergence 2014 on Monday, March 3 at the Omni Hotel from 5:00PM– 8:00PM. Hal Howard, Corporate Vice President of ERP Research Development, and Mike Ehrenberg, Technical Fellow-Research Development-Product Planning, will kick off the event with a presentation about the Microsoft Dynamics Vision. We invite you to attend this one-hour presentation and then stay for appetizers, drinks and networking. Questions? Email mbs-evnt@microsoft.com.

Microsoft Dynamics Partners: Get a Return on Your Marketing Investment 
Are you a Microsoft Dynamics partner who is short on time, marketing headcount, or would simply prefer to focus your staff on sales and implementations? Then the Microsoft Partner OutSource Model (OSM) is for you Participating partners experience an average of 40:1 return on their marketing investment. Content is on the PartnerSource website and requires sign in.

Microsoft Dynamics Partners: Improve Your Search Rankings with the Marketing Services Bureau
Did you know that Google ranks websites based on page load times and site health? One of this month’s special offers is 15% off for Dynamics partners who take advantage of Interactive Limited's Website Performance Optimization offer. Content is on the PartnerSource website and requires sign in.

Resources

WPC14_withdate_limeBuild Your Partner to Partner Connections as a WPC 2014 Sponsor and Exhibitor
Showcase your solutions in front of more than 14,000 of the best and most committed partners in the Microsoft ecosystem. Exhibiting at WPC 2014 is a great way promote your business and build strategic alliances with the right Microsoft partners.

Now Accepting Your WPC 2014 Partner of the Year Awards Submissions
The Partner of the Year Awards celebrate successes and innovations related to MPN competencies, cloud technology, entrepreneurial spirit, and sales excellence, and highlight work done by partners in the public sector and citizenship arenas. There is also an award for the United States Country Partner of the Year. Prepare your self-nomination today—the submission tool is now open.

imageSMB Live: Get in the Cloud Events in 25 Cities Across the United States
Register for an SMB Live: Get in the Cloud event, in a city near you starting February 18.  Gain the advantage over your competition at our upcoming SMB Live events and get access to cutting edge technical, sales, and marketing information and resources to help you build a thriving Microsoft practice. Space is limited—check out the schedule and secure your spot today.

SMBLive_ExpandYourPortfolioSMB Live: Expand Your Portfolio Events in 20 Cities Across the United States
Register for an SMB Live: Expand Your Portfolio event, coming to 20 cities across the United States starting March 3. Learn how to build your business by adding new Microsoft cloud and on-premises solutions to your practice. Space is limited—check out the schedule and secure your spot today.

imageInspire by Example: New Windows E-book for Public Sector
This new e-book, part of the Windows in Public Sector Ready-to-Go campaign, looks back a decade, then guides public sector decision makers through a forward-thinking journey of possibilities.

CloudServicesDashboard_office365subsKeep Your Cloud Business Healthy with the Microsoft Online Services Partner Dashboard
The new Microsoft Online Services Partner Dashboard for resellers and distributors is now available. You can proactively manage your customers that have Office 365, Windows Intune, and Dynamics CRM Online subscriptions, and have a single point of access to customer subscriptions by product, plan, sales model, and activation status. Upcoming expirations are highlighted as well as deployment opportunities.

Training and Certification

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

February 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. The March issue will be available next week.

February 18: Voices for Innovation Webcast - Help SMBs Open the Door to New Business Opportunities
Learn how to use a new study by the Boston Consulting Group—which finds that Microsoft is the technology of choice for tech-savvy SMBs—as a door opener to business development conversations with local governments and chambers of commerce.

imageDrumbeat Sales Days: Microsoft Office 365 Sales Training
Microsoft partner sales professionals and presales technical professionals are invited to attend one of three in-person Drumbeat Sales Days to learn best practices for selling Office 365 to enterprise customers.

Microsoft Certification Offer for MPN Members
Take advantage of MPN Certification Competency Exam Pack discounts. Update your skills to the latest Microsoft product and technology releases, or prepare for the new MPN competency requirements. You'll save up to 40% on the exam cost, and get a second chance to pass the exam if you need it.

CertificationSweepstakes_smallblogPass Your Next Certification Exam by April 27 and Enter to Win a Surface Pro 2
Let us help you pursue your Microsoft certification goals. Pass a qualifying Microsoft Certification exam by April 27 and be entered into a weekly and a monthly drawing for a chance to win a $500 Microsoft Store gift card or a Surface Pro 2 tablet.

No purchase necessary. Sweepstakes ends April 27. Open only to authorized representatives of companies enrolled in the Microsoft Partner Network with a valid MPN ID who are legal residents of the United States, age 18 and older. Details, including free alternate method of entry, in the official rules.

On Demand Jump Start: Getting Started with PowerShell 3.0
Watch this this script-filled, expert-led Jump Start for IT pros, admins, and help desk persons who want to learn how to use PowerShell to improve management capabilities, automate redundant tasks and manage your environment in scale.

February 18 Webcast for Microsoft Dynamics Partners: Managing a Content Strategy with the Butterfly Solution
Attend this webcast to learn how Butterfly Publisher’s features like the Microsoft Library, custom content creation options, content dashboards, newsletters and social media management, content syndication through Microsoft, and the new photo sharing app can help you reach more customers in less time.

March 24–April 11: Microsoft Dynamics AX Enterprise Academy – Fast TrAX Consultant Training
This course provides an end to end training program to focus not only on helping new individuals prepare for certification and providing them an opportunity to learn from Certified Trainers with real world experience, Microsoft Support Organization, and insights from research and development.

imageCalendar Through February 28

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