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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.

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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 A Cloud for Everyone, on Every Device
Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft, talks about the new “mobile-first cloud-first” world, and explains how Microsoft is enabling a world in which anyone can make things happen, on their terms.

More announcements and news in the Mobile First, Cloud First Press Briefing Newsroom

Enterprise Mobility for Every Business and Every Device
On his In the Cloud blog, Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President for Windows Server & System Center, talks about the release of the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite, the upcoming general availability of Azure Active Directory Premium, and the latest updates to Windows Intune.

MidmarketRTGCompeting and Winning in the Midmarket
There are over 60,000 midmarket firms (defined as companies that have 100 to 249 seats) in the United States, and on average, they spend $100,000 on infrastructure, productivity software and devices a year. Current Microsoft midmarket customers represent over $2 billion in software upgrade opportunity alone. Use the materials from Ready-to-Go Marketing to plan and implement your midmarket strategy.

Submissions for 2014 Partner of the Year Awards Close April 11
It's time to polish, finalize, and submit your 2014 Partner of the Year Award nomination in the Awards tool. Winning an award positions your company for new business opportunities, generates positive press coverage, and can lead to greater market recognition. Last year, US partners took home 19 awards. We'd love to cheer for you at WPC. Good luck!

New Study Shows Companies Are Moving with Cloud Deployments at a Rapid Rate
Microsoft just released the Hosting and Cloud Go Mainstream: 2014 study. This global survey includes answers from over 2,000 customers of various sizes, and offers insights into how customers buy, use, and manage their IT in different cloud scenarios. Read about three key insights from this study that you should consider for your business, and download the study.

Build a Profitable Cloud Business: Six-Week Online Course Starts April 1
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 the six-week online course that starts April 1.

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

Meet the Bing Ads Team in New York City, Austin, and Chicago
Bing Ads is hosting events in New York City, Austin, and Chicago. Register to connect with Bing Ads experts, get agency resources and see a drill down on insights from the local area. Earn your Bing Ads Accreditation in the afternoon, then join for a networking happy hour and a chance to win an Xbox One.

Implement 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

imageLead Qualification Service from Ready-to-Go Marketing
Closing sales can be a lengthy process, especially when valuable time is wasted engaging leads that aren't qualified. Let Microsoft manage the post-event follow-up conversations with your event registrants. The calls are made on your behalf with your messaging, saving you time and resources. It's a new way to receive targeted, qualified leads, and offered to MPN members at no cost.

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.

imageReady-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.

Resources to Help You Transition Your Cloud Internal Use Rights
As of February 24, all Microsoft Action Pack and competency partners now have access to Microsoft Internal Use Rights for Microsoft cloud solutions such as Office 365, Windows Azure, Dynamics CRM Online, and Windows Intune. You can now deploy your internal use rights benefit allotment the way you choose, to suit your business needs—online, on-premises, or both.

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.

Training and certification

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

HotSheet_03202014April 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.

SQL Server 2014 Technical Ignite Boot Camps
SQL Server 2014 will be generally available April 1. In this four-day technical training you will learn about the in-memory and cloud capabilities of the new release. You will walk away with an understanding of how to simplify cloud adoption for your SQL databases, as well as unlock new hybrid scenarios.

imageWindows Intune Webcast Series
Join the Windows Intune team for a webcast series that covers product, sales, and technical information about the unified PC and mobile device management solution for businesses. Windows Intune lets you manage PCs and mobile devices from the cloud, enabling people to use the devices they choose to access applications and data while following corporate policies.

Be Rewarded and Save with Training and Certification Offers
Whether you’re preparing for a Microsoft Certification exam, gathering best practices to help improve your company’s time to market for deployments, or just interested in deepening your technical knowledge about Microsoft products and technologies, take advantage of these offers. 

image8 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.

Featured video

Watch this video about how Practice Accelerators can increase your customer wins and retention. Practice Accelerators are ideal for IT pros and provide a detailed framework of resources, spanning from pre-engagement to post-delivery. The complete documentation set includes project guides, templates, architecture guidance, and planning and design guides.

PracticeAccelerator_video

Calendar through April 11

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