Today is day 1 of Microsoft’s annual conference for partners, WPC, aka Worldwide Partner Conference. At 1:45 PM (UK/Irish time) the day 1 keynote will begin and Microsoft will lay out their agenda for the coming year.
Events such as Build and conferences such as Ignite are where Microsoft talk technology. WPC (for Microsoft partners) and MGX (for MIcrosoft sales employees) are where they talk business. Today, we can expect Satya Nadella to take the stage and talk fluff about mobility of user experience, productivity, and services for several hours. Tomorrow, COO Kevin Turner will fire up the troops and talk numbers and competition. He’s the guy overseeing the score charts that dictate Microsoft’s subsidiary business, so his voice is pretty important. There’s usually little news here, but sometimes there are interesting market share facts.
But in the midst of all the usual catchphrases, rapidly delivered demos by Julia White (breath!) and at various breakout sessions this week, Microsoft will talk about some important stuff. And this is the stuff that affects company strategy, licensing, and what Microsoft/partners will be talking to your boss about in the coming year. This is what I expect to be pushed:
- Adoption, adoption, adoption: Microsoft used to recognise and measure sales of products. But in the era of the cloud, adoption is more important. There’s been many sneaky includes of cloud services in volume licensing deals to make red lights green, and Microsoft is stopping this.
- Azure: It’s still really early days for Azure in the partner market. Will they sort out some of the pricing issues and deal with partner concerns like central management, and transitioning from MOSP (direct) billing subscriptions to Open?
- Office 365: It’s been a huge success in Ireland, but not so in the rest of Europe, or in the USA I hear. Again, lots of people “bought” it but didn’t buy into it.
- CSP: Microsoft will be putting a big push on Cloud Solution Provider as a new means to resell and distribute cloud services via “tier 1” and “tier 2” partners. There are serious issues with CSP, such as partner-provided 24*7 technical support and lack of subscription transitioning.
- Surface & devices: What news will there be? Will Microsoft finally fix the one business problem that Surface has? Answer: a viable channel to business. You wouldn’t believe how much Surface business we turn away because of Microsoft’s own stupid rules.
- Windows 10: This one will be tricky. As a distributor, Windows 10 is bad news for us (free is bad when you’re in the business of selling). I think Microsoft will encourage partners into selling deployment projects. I think partners will be looking for ways to block Windows 10 until business owners say they want it. BYOD is an American thing (source: IDC).
Don’t expect anything of value on Windows Server or System Center.
BTW, this would be a nice time to announce the RTM of Windows 10. But really, I expect this to be a blog post, maybe on Friday morning (10-11am) Redmond time.