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1An Insider Look at Microsoft WPC 2011

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer thanked channel partners for driving revenue and building business over the last year.

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It’s a big flat screen. No, it’s an interactive conference table! Microsoft demoed Microsoft Surface, software that runs on top of Windows 7 and currently with hardware partner Samsung on the largest piece of Gorilla Glass currently manufactured. It allows multiple users to collaborate on a single screen.

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Microsoft said that this year’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference attracted 15,000 attendees, a new record.

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Microsoft partners are undergoing a significant change to their partner program that requires them to achieve competencies to meet Gold or other partner statuses. Some partners are forgoing the competencies.

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While Microsoft officials concede that Microsoft Phone 7’s share remains very small, the big talk is around a time at the end of 2012 when phones, PCs and TVs will all run on the same Windows kernel and interoperate seamlessly.

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Two weeks after the introduction of cloud-based Office 365, Microsoft claimed tens of thousands of user companies were participating in the trial of the productivity suite in the cloud. Meanwhile, many partners remained unwilling to come aboard given the one-size-fits-all billing methodology of the offering.