By Mary Jo Foley
Starting July 12, Microsoft’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference kicks off in Washington, DC. The company’s loudest messaging at the four-day event will be that Microsoft partners need to be “All In” with the cloud, just like Redmond itself.
Microsoft will be highlighting many of its partners that have managed to transition their businesses so as to be more cloud-centric. But company officials also will attempt to convince the rest of the nearly 10,000 expected attendees that it’s time for them to be leading with cloud services like Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), the forthcoming Windows InTune systems management software/service and the Azure cloud platform.
(I’m especially interested in how Microsoft plans to get partners involved in selling Azure. So far, the Softies have published a number of case studies highlighting developers who’ve built new applications on Azure, but I’ve heard/seen very little about how Microsoft’s reseller community is supposed to get invovled/paid for pushing Azure to the masses.)
Getting partners on board with Microsoft’s cloud push is critical for the Redmondians, as Microsoft relies heavily on integrators, resellers, independent software vendors and OEMs to act as its primary salesforce. While the Microsoft brass warned the company’s partners a few years ago that Microsoft was planning to get into selling hosted services (and they needed to “move up the stack” and get out of the way or risk being run down), Microsoft partners still have a lot of questions about the cloud and their place in it.