Microsoft Partner Conference '07: Latest news on new products, services strategy

Update: Microsoft used its Worldwide Partner Conference to announce a Feb. release of Windows Server 2008 and other "big-dog" products; substantial shift toward SaaS business.

  • July 12: Fun Facts From Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 07
    *** Best Nickname: One hotel for press and analysts combined the interior look of a war zone with the façade of a parking structure. Press wags not-so-affectionately dubbed it the Baghdad Hilton.
    *** Best Stealth Fact: Designated Microsoft spokespeople refused to provide price on the new embeddable version of BizTalk Server (R2). A panelist was not so reticent: The list price: $500.
    *** Best Bamboozle: The setup: Microsoft COO Kevin Turner talked up a three-way simultaneous launch next February of Longhorn/Katmai/Orcas (that's Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 to those who stand on formalities.) The bamboozle: At least one third of the three products won't ship at launch time—SQL Server is on for second quarter 08 general availability.

  • CRM Live a partner opportunity? Kind of.

    To be clear: When Microsoft says CRM Live will be totally partner inclusive, it really means partners will be an absolutly required part of the sale only during the ramp-up stage.

    Till the end of the year, customers wanting to try the nascent Microsoft-hosted service must work with a Microsoft certified partner to come aboard. And partners will get a 10% referral fee now and in the future for customers they land.

    After the final version of the service goes live early next year, however, CRM Live will also be available directly from Microsoft, company execs said late Tuesday.

  • Microsoft barrels toward a services world

    Although software services don't yet register with the vast majority of corporate IT shops, Microsoft is developing its "services platform in the cloud" with an effort similar to the development that went into the desktop OS.

    At the Microsoft Worldwide Partner's conference here this week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talked up the company's services strategy. He gave few details surrounding the company's software plus services platform though he said it would be built on .Net and Windows.

  • July 11: Microsoft packages up Biztalk Server for branch offices, offers bundle.

    When Microsoft ships Biztalk Server 2006 R2 – which it has promised to do in September — it will offer a new version packaged and priced for branch offices.

    Listing for $1,800 per CPU, this edition will run in the spoke offices of typical hub-and-spoke organizations, Microsoft executives said. BizTalk Server Enterprise Standard edition weighs in at $8,500 per CPU and Enterprise Edition at $35,000 per CPU.

    And that's not all: more...

  • July 10: Update: Is Microsoft WinServer 2008 big-bang release a sham?

    Microsoft's biggest-ever enterprise product launch appears to be more marketing ploy than a true launch.While COO Kevin Turner said Microsoft would simultaneously launch Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 together at a Feb. 27 event in Los Angeles, that news does not override previously announced product timetables, other execs said Tuesday afternoon.

  • Microsoft intros Windows Server, SQL Server, Visual Studio 2008, preps big-bang rollout for Feb. 27
    Folks discounted an earlier report that Microsoft would sync up its gigantic Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio Server 2008 launches into a single "platform release" but that's exactly what it's going to do.


  • Microsoft will launch Windows Server 2008 next February
    Microsoft's launch of Windows Server 2008, which is now set for February of next year along with new versions of SQL Server and Visual Studio, is already being billed as the most important enterprise launch in the company's history.

    It is also likely to be the last hurrah for Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman, who will be stepping away from his day-to-day role at Microsoft in July.


  • Microsoft offers on-demand CRM on the cheap
    Microsoft today announced the pricing for its forthcoming Live CRM product at a rate highly competitive with other on-demand CRM vendors.


  • Microsoft solution providers question SaaS margins
    At this week's Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft Corp. will offer details on its plan to offer many of its business applications on a software as a service basis, and allow solutions providers to resell and customize both hosted and on-premise applications.

    Microsoft has been developing its SaaS plan under the Live tag since at least 2005, gradually adding customer resource management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and other functions to the free mail, instant messaging and other services it offers through the Microsoft Live online set of services.


  • Microsoft to offer range of infrastructure services, training to help sell them
    Microsoft Corp.'s plans for the solutions provider channel started to become clearer last night, during sessions previewing some of the announcements Microsoft will make today and later in the week about its major new programs and services.

    Heading the list is Microsoft's take on software as a service (SaaS), which it defines as "software and services" -- a combination that relies on Microsoft server-based applications such as Exchange, SQL Server, customer resource management (CRM) and other applications on the back end, talking to Office applications on the front end.


  • Microsoft Live services pricing is aggressive; surprise, surprise
    Microsoft, true to its volume sales heritage, will offer its upcoming hosted CRM Live service for as little as $39 per user per month.

    That figure puts it well under the list prices of competitive offerings from Salesforce.com and NetSuite. Most of those rival SKUs list for well over $100 per user per month although discounting undoubtedly occurs.


  • Five hot spots to watch at this week's Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference
    The thousands of Microsoft partners -- ISVs, VARs, solution providers, integrators -- converging in Denver this week have a lot on their minds.

    Here, from a completely non-scientific survey of several Microsoft partners -- both the "classic" and Microsoft Business Solutions varieties -- are the five hot spots to watch at the annual Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference.

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