Barbara Darrow blog: The good and bad from the Microsoft Partner Conference

Expert blogger Barbara Darrow covers the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference for SearchITChannel.com.

Check back for Barbara Darrow's coverage of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference for SearchITChannel.com, live from Denver.

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.

July 11: 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.

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:

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.

July 10: 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.

July 10: 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.

July 8: Five hot spots to watch at this week's Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference

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.

For more reseller information, opinion and outrage, be sure to visit the Channel Marker: A SearchITChannel.com blog.

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