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

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Ready-to-Go Marketing: Help Customers Say Goodbye to Windows XP and Upgrade by April 8
The Get Modern with Windows 8.1 and Office campaign, from Ready-to-Go Marketing, provides you with resources that will help you prepare for conversations with your customers and explain the benefits of modernizing their businesses by moving to current versions of Windows, Office, and Exchange. You'll help customers increase productivity, access information anywhere, and stay secure while positioning yourself as their trusted advisor.

A Guide to Renewing Your MPN Competency
Keep your valuable competency benefits like access to Microsoft Services offerings, internal-use software, a customized competency logo, and marketplace exposure through Microsoft Pinpoint. Plan your next competency renewal with our step-by-step guidance.

What’s New in the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription
The new Action Pack is designed for partners that serve SMB customers and that are building a business practice with Microsoft technology. Knowing that many of our commercial partners go to market in multiple ways, we’ve simplified our approach to subscriptions to support this. The Action Pack is a universal subscription and now allows you to explore and utilize resources across six partner business models. 

Peter Han’s Blog: Windows 8.1 Devices – Critical Care for the Healthcare Industry
Healthcare—with its demanding, complex requirements for high system security, compliance with government regulations, clean environments, portability, and usability—is an industry especially poised to tackle daily challenges through technology innovation. Find out how OEMs and their Windows 8.1 devices are revolutionizing how healthcare providers do business.

imageMarch 27: Windows Azure ISV Partner YamJam, Featuring Alert Logic
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 Jonathan Norman from our ISV partner, Alert Logic. Jonathan will “Yam” about Alert Logic Log Manager, security and compliance log management for Windows Azure or on-premises environments to search, correlate, alert, and report.

Cloud 1-2-3 Academy for SMB Partners: Build a Profitable Cloud Business
Whether you are new to the cloud or have closed a few cloud deals already, Cloud 1-2-3 Academy will help you make decisions about your business model to help you maximize revenues in the long term. Register to attend an in-person event, register for the online, 6-week series—or, register for and attend both.

Microsoft Security Bulletin Update for March 2014
The March 2014 security updates cover Internet Explorer, Microsoft Silverlight, and Microsoft Windows. You can watch the March 12 webcast on demand, and register for the next webcast, on April 9. The next security bulletin release is on Tuesday, April 8.

Give Your Feedback About Microsoft Licensing Content
The Microsoft Worldwide Licensing and Pricing Team is reviewing and evaluating the partner-ready content they provide to streamline and simplify it. You are invited to take their short survey and give your perspective about current content and what you would like to see when content is updated.

Meet Search Marketing Experts at Bing Ads Connect
Come to one of these four in-person events to engage with search marketing experts and learn about your opportunities with Bing Ads. If you have an Action Pack subscription, your benefits include Bing Ads credits that you and your customers can use to market products, services and solutions. Come learn how to put them to work.

Microsoft Dynamics Partners: Expand Your Marketing Budget with Marketing Services Bureau
The Marketing Services Bureau can provide you with access to marketing expertise you may not otherwise have the time or budget to hire. Whether you're in need of a list, consulting services, or a social media solution, MSB can help fill your marketing gaps and accelerate your path to new leads. New Special Offers are published regularly to our PartnerSource page.

Build a Marketing Program to Nurture Customers with the Microsoft Dynamics Partner Outsource Model
The Microsoft Dynamics Partner Outsource Model is a comprehensive suite of bundled services that can help you build and execute 6 to 12 months of marketing at a fraction of the cost of doing it yourself. This marketing system is uniquely designed for the new economics of selling your Microsoft Dynamics products and service offerings to customers. This content is on PartnerSource.

Resources

Awards_WPC2014Submissions for WPC 2014 Partner of the Year Awards Close April 11
It’s less than a month until the submissions close for this year’s Partner of the Year Awards. 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 and submit your self-nomination today.

Build 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.

imageCorporate Buyback Program for Your Customers
When you help customers upgrade to a new Windows phone or tablet, they may be eligible to get money back for their old devices.

New Customer Campaign Explains the Value of Working with Microsoft Partners
A new campaign from the Microsoft Partner Network reaches out to customers to tell them the benefits of working with a partner that has proven expertise with Microsoft technologies by attaining silver or gold competency status. A new MPN page shows customers how to search on Microsoft Pinpoint to find a qualified partner based on business need, competency, or industry vertical.

Register for the VAR Incentive Program to Earn Up to 22 Percent in Incentives
The VAR Incentive provides maximum payout when you help your customers recognize the benefits of emerging Microsoft products and technologies, including virtualization, security, and unified communications. Register before March 31 to earn this incentive retroactive to your eligible sales starting in January. You must register for the current incentive even if you have participated in previous versions of the VAR rebate. Terms and conditions.

Earn $500 for Your First Sale of Microsoft Office 365 to an SMB Customer
Register for the VAR Incentive, then make your first Microsoft Office 365 sale through Open or Advisor between March 1 and May 31, and you may be eligible for an extra $500 payment. Terms and conditions.

SMB Advantage: Earn Partner Subsidy Funds for Cloud Sales
Earn partner subsidy funds on eligible sales of Microsoft Office 365 or Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online through Open or Advisor. Redeem the purchase within 15 days, and your customer will receive a check to be used within 90 days for additional purchases or services provided by you. Offer ends May 31. Terms and conditions.

ROI_Office365toolShow Customers How Much They Can Save with Office 365
With support ending soon for Office 2003, Exchange Server 2003, and Windows XP, now is a good time for customers to move up to Office 365. Help your customers understand the benefits of moving to Exchange and Office in the cloud by using CloudReady Insight. This third-party tool calculates the return on investment of moving to Office 365 based on a customer's present on-premises usage.

Inspire 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.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 on Azure White Papers
Two new white papers are now available for download from PartnerSource: Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 Sizing Guidelines for Multitenant Deployments and Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 on Windows Azure.

Training and certification

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

March 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 April issue will be available the week of March 17.

Microsoft Dynamics Training Schedule
Register for Microsoft Dynamics training for both CRM and ERP using our schedule that goes through July. We also list Dynamics training on the monthly Hot Sheet.

Leaderboard_FB_AccelerateLearning_851x315_FlexibleWSIncrease Your Customer Wins and Retention, Plus Earn a Chance to Win
Microsoft Practice Accelerator equips partners with a detailed, reusable framework for the solutions you deploy. Each person from your company who attends a Practice Accelerator in March will be entered into the Accelerate Your Learning Sweepstakes for a chance to win a $1,000 American Express gift card.

Open only to authorized reps of companies actively enrolled in the Microsoft Partner Network. Game ends March 31. For details, including free alternate method of entry, see Official Rules.

Microsoft Tech Showcase: Lead the Technology Wave
Microsoft Tech Showcase events offer a one-day in-depth review of new product releases, such as Microsoft SharePoint 2013, Windows Azure, and Windows 8.1. Search for an expert-led event that is coming to a city near you or presented online.

Cloud OS OpportunityCloud OS Training Sweepstakes Ends March 31
Our Data Insights and Data Center Immersion trainings will give you a technical understanding of how Windows Server, Microsoft System Center, Microsoft SharePoint, and Windows Azure work together. And when you complete the self-assessments at the end of the training modules by March 31, you will be entered to win great prizes like Dr. Dre Beats Pill Speakers or Surface Pro 2 tablets.

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.

8 Weeks of Windows 8 – Enter to Win a Cool Device
Pass a Windows assessment and be entered to win a Dell Venue 8 Pro, a Toshiba Encore, or a Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon Multimode Table PC. Weekly and grand prize drawings. Contest ends April 13. Open to US resident employees of OEM Reseller partners who are 18 or older. Weekly entry periods are Monday through Sunday. Download the official rules.

imageSMB Live: Get in the Cloud Events
Register for an SMB Live: Get in the Cloud event, in a city near you. Gain the advantage over your competition at our 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.

imageSMB Live: Expand Your Portfolio Events
Register for an SMB Live: Expand Your Portfolio event, in a city near you. 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.

 

Featured video

Watch this video, Choosing the best data platform for your business, for insights and talking points you can use when talking to customers about how Microsoft offers a complete, flexible data platform that helps businesses like theirs gain insight from all of today's data sources, no matter where they reside.

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Calendar through March 28

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