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Microsoft will – finally – launch Windows 7 in New York today, making the new version of the operating system generally available to the public. Partners have had access to the OS for some months now, as they build out their solutions and applications to be ready to go to market, but they are getting a nudge from Microsoft to be even more aggressive.

In advance of the event, Microsoft channel chief Allison Watson sent a letter to Microsoft partners, detailing the significance of the Windows 7 launch and issuing seven calls to action for the partner ecosystem

“We’re proud to say that this release has had the broadest and deepest level of partner engagement of any operating system in Microsoft’s history,” wrote Watson and fellow corporate vice president Tami Reller.

Watson says that the No. 1 priority for channel partners that have not already done so is to adopt Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 internally and to participate in product training. She cites more than 50,000 developers that are supporting Windows 7 and 5,500 ISV partners that have committed to both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 through the Microsoft’s Green Light program.

Partners should be encouraged by customer demand, she contends.

“We are constantly hearing from partners that their customers are telling them not only how excited they are about these products, but also how they see productivity improvements and cost savings that will make a material difference in their businesses,” she wrote.

As for her what-to-do-next list of seven actions for partners, read on:

1.    Join the live launch event from New York where Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will keynote.

2.    Deploy both operating systems internally, get trained and up to speed on the products benefits so they can be conveyed to customers.

3.    Host a launch event around Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 or the forthcoming Exchange Server 2010 between now and February.

4.    Leverage the tools and resources available in the Partner Marketing Center to sell customers via campaigns aimed separately at enterprise and corporate accounts and small and midmarket businesses.

5.    Push the Windows 7 Professional Upgrade promotion.

6.    Take advantage of no-charge online tech support for the new products.

7.    For ISVs, make sure applications support the new operating systems.

Pretty straightforward call to arms. Partners are expected to be well-represented at tomorrow’s launch, with a number of ISVs on hand to show off their Windows 7-ready applications.