7,000 Partners Party with Microsoft in Boston

The growth that Microsoft has had over the years has been because of its partners.
From solution providers who install Microsoft software to independent software vendors who sell add-ons to Microsoft software to hardware vendors who sell hardware that Microsoft software powers and more.
At this week’s Microsoft partner conference about 7,000 partners from around the world came to hear keynotes, learn, network and so much more. Possibly of most importance to them, to Microsoft and their customers is Microsoft announcement and/or release of a slew of new products and programs.
Here’s a summary from Microsoft’s press release:
The event was kicked off by Allison Watson, corporate vice president of the Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft, who introduced Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer. Ballmer’s keynote highlighted how partners are a critical link in delivering on Microsoft’s vision for building people-ready businesses and described new partner opportunities across a range of Microsoft products planned for the coming year.
To help partners take full advantage of upcoming offerings, the Microsoft Partner Program has established competencies — designations that identify partners based on expertise and specialization — and other tools that customers can use to identify the partner best suited to meet their needs. Microsoft is also offering partners a framework that will help them identify innovative partner-to-partner opportunities.
The new Microsoft software and services scheduled for delivery to customers in the near future include the second release of Windows SBS 2003 R2, Microsoft Windows Vista(TM), Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, the 2007 Microsoft Office system, Microsoft Office Live, Microsoft Dynamics(TM) CRM Live, and Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0.
In his keynote address at the Worldwide Partner Conference 2006, Ballmer announced the launch of Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 and revealed new pricing details for the product.
One of the areas of innovation highlighted on the first day of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2006 is the partner momentum Microsoft is seeing around the forthcoming 2007 Microsoft Office system.
One of the new areas of partner opportunity with the 2007 release is enterprise search, which boasts a services market opportunity of $2.1 billion worldwide, according to Microsoft research.
Another key area of focus on the first day of the Worldwide Partner Conference 2006 is unified communications. Microsoft’s Unified Communications Group (UCG) has announced plans to extend the opportunities for partners to build solutions on Microsoft Office Communication Server 2007, the enterprise instant messaging (IM) and presence platform.
Get more information about the partner conference here.