Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Software and IT Partner News

By SuperUser Account on 1/10/2014 2:38 PM
PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release

January 8, 2014: Only 100 organizations are recognized each year as one of “Bob Scott’s VAR Stars”, which includes Collins Computing. Collins Computing, a southern California Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM partner, is often honored for their accomplishments in the field of midmarket financial software.

Members of the VAR Stars were selected based on factors such growth, industry leadership and recognition, and innovation. Selection is not based on revenue and those firms chosen represent a wide range of size and many different software publishers of accounting software.

“Each year, 100 VAR Stars are picked from the best organizations that market financial software. It is always an honor to recognize those who contribute to the development of our business,” Bob Scott said.

Randy Forkner, President of Collins Computing, states “It’s a privilege to be recognized for so many years in a row as a VAR Star. It speaks to the great value of the products and...
By SuperUser Account on 1/2/2014 12:59 PM
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, WA – Jan 2, 2014 SMB Nation is pleased to announce the 2014 Emerging Technology Tour, taking place in ten cities across the US and Canada. We understand that it can be hard to secure travel, so we are bringing a content-packed event right to a big city near you.
 
The Emerging Technology Tour is this year’s premier event for small and medium IT Consultants, VARs, and partners. This one day event is committed to educating you on ways to continue to grow your business, manage clients, and expand your knowledge in the IT Industry by bringing together IT Influencers from across the country to share their insight. Over the past 25 years, we have seen drastic changes in technology from the boom of the internet and “dot coms” to currently being able to work from anywhere. With the changing world today, our ability to innovate and stay educated has become increasingly harder as things are changing every day. Join SMB Nation to educate yourself on emerging technology.
 
You spoke, we listened! We got great response from our Night School classes this past year, so Attendees to our ten events will enjoy the same kind of classes that we had at the 2013 SMB Nation Fall Conference Night School, including:
By SuperUser Account on 12/3/2013 9:48 AM
The annual holiday-themed event raises funds to fight Arthritis, a leading cause of disability.

SEATTLE – The Resource Group has formed a team of staff members to participate in The Jingle Bell Run, a Seattle area Arthritis fundraising event. The Resource Group is a leading Partner of Microsoft Dynamics® GP (formerly, Great Plains), helping customers utilize their software solution to gain business insight and manage their organization more efficiently and effectively.

The annual Jingle Bell Run, which takes place on Sunday, December 8, at Westlake Center in Seattle, is a holiday-themed 5 km run/walk. The event, which is organized by the Arthritis Foundation, raises funds to fight Arthritis, the nation’s leading cause of disability. The Resource Group is participating in this event as part of its ongoing commitment to give back to the community.

“The Jingle Bell run not...
By SuperUser Account on 9/30/2013 11:18 AM
The Resource Group’s 13th Annual Microsoft Dynamics GP Customer Conference

The annual event designed for users of Microsoft Dynamics GP attracted more than 150 customers, partners and employees.

Renton, Wash. – The Resource Group achieved record attendance for RG Connect 2013, The company’s 13th annual Microsoft Dynamics GP customer conference held September 19. The Resource Group is a leading provider of Microsoft Dynamics® GP (formerly, Great Plains), helping clients utilize their software solution to gain business insight and manage their organization more efficiently and effectively.

More than 150 customers, partners and employees attended the event, which was held at The Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Wash. In addition, RG Connect 2013 featured its largest ISV (Independent Software Vendors) Expo, with 11 companies participating. Expo participants also had the opportunity to present product information during the event’s breakout sessions.

...
By SuperUser Account on 9/12/2013 8:27 AM
PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release                                               

Collins Computing receives 2013 California Excellence Award September 11th 2013 - Collins Computing Inc has been selected for the 2013 California Excellence Award amongst all its peers and competitors by the Small Business Institute for Excellence in Commerce (SBIEC).

Each year the SBIEC conducts business surveys and industry research to identify companies that have achieved demonstrable success in their local business environment and industry category. They are recognized as having enhanced the commitment and contribution of small businesses through service to their customers and community. Small businesses of this caliber enhance the consumer driven stature that California is renowned for.

Collins Computing Inc. (www.CollinsComputing.com) has consistently demonstrated a high regard for upholding business ethics and company values which is a trait seldom...
By SuperUser Account on 8/28/2013 9:01 AM

Guest speakers at the 13h annual event include Don Schmincke, author of best-selling books “The Code Of The Executive” and “High Altitude Leadership”, and business performance improvement expert Phil Kirby, founder of Organization Thoughtware International Inc. (OTI).

Renton, Wash. – The Resource Group has announced its guest speakers for the executive level track of its annual RG Connect conference. Scheduled for September 19, 2013, at The Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Wash., this year’s RG Connect Conference - Innovating Your Way to Success - will be The Resource Group’s 13th annual customer conference. The Resource Group is a leading provider of Microsoft Dynamics® GP (formerly, Great Plains), helping customers utilize their software solution to gain business insight and manage their organization more efficiently and effectively.

By SuperUser Account on 8/6/2013 12:40 PM
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – August 5, 2013 – Today, BCG Systems, Inc. proudly announced it was recognized by Microsoft for winning a 2013 Central Region SMB Partner Award for Heartland Partner of the Year. These awards highlight and recognize the excellence and achievement of Central Region SMB value-added resellers (VARs) who have worked innovatively to produce exceptional results across the business. 

During the 2013 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston, Microsoft’s Central Region SMB&D General Manager Shonda Anderson-Williams was on-site to acknowledge the award winners, including BCG Systems, Inc., for their achievements.

“The Microsoft Partner Awards recognize Microsoft partners that have developed and delivered exceptional Microsoft-based solutions over the last year,” said Anderson-Williams. “BCG Systems, Inc. demonstrates a commitment to serving its customers and providing innovative thinking and technology solutions.”

“BCG Systems is pleased to receive this honor,”...
By SuperUser Account on 7/28/2013 9:56 AM
PRESSRELEASE For Immediate Release 

MICROSOFT NAMES COLLINS COMPUTING TO THE 2013 PRESIDENT’S CLUB

 

July 17, 2013: California – Worldwide, Microsoft has many thousands of partners but fewer than 5% of those Microsoft Dynamics resellers were honored for their accomplishments in the field of midmarket financial software in 2013. Collins Computing Inc. is again named to this industry leading list for the 17th year.

 

The 2013 Microsoft Dynamics President’s Club honors a group of high-performing Microsoft Dynamics partners with a commitment to customers reflected in their business performance and high level of sales achievement over the course of the Microsoft fiscal year.

Randy Forkner, President, states “Our 27 year history of serving customers who use ERP and CRM to grow their business aligns perfectly with the constant dedication of the team at Collins Computing to delivering solutions that meet customer needs, using...
By SuperUser Account on 6/18/2013 7:57 AM
By: KEVIN MCLAUGHLIN





Steven Martin, Microsoft Twitter

Steve Martin.

Large enterprises are growing more comfortable with using Windows Azure, Microsoft's rival to Amazon's cloud computing services, a Microsoft exec said Friday.



More than half of Fortune 500 firms are now using Windows Azure, which lets customers rent access to servers, storage, and other services over the Internet, Steven Martin, general manager of Windows Azure, said in a blog post

...
By SuperUser Account on 5/24/2013 9:46 AM
PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release

Collins Computing Achieves Top 100 VAR Recognition for 10th Consecutive Year

Orange County, CA — May 20, 2013 — Collins Computing, Inc. is honored to announce their inclusion in Bob Scott’s Top 100 VARs list for 2013. This is Collins Computing’s 10th consecutive year receiving this recognition—emphasizing their success in helping businesses with their ERP and CRM challenges.

“We want to congratulate this year's class of Bob Scott's Top 100 VARs,” said Bob Scott, executive editor of Bob Scott’s Insights. The Top 100 are chosen from organizations specializing in the sale and implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and accounting software and is based on annual revenue generated by each reseller. A special report that includes names of the organizations selected for this year’s Top 100 list, ranked by revenue, is downloadable at http://www.bobscottsinsights.com.

Randy Forkner, President...
By SuperUser Account on 4/22/2013 9:18 AM
 

03-Apr-2013 For a second year in a row, IPM Global has been awarded a ConstrucTech Magazine award for “Trusted Product” for their IPM Project Management solution.



As one of eighteen companies receiving the award, IPM Global’s project management software was selected based on having a solid technology backbone and also demonstrating timely enhancements.

Miree Le Roy of IPM Global said, “The award is a source of great pride to our firm, and shows our dedication to creating the best project management software solution, and at the...
By SuperUser Account on 4/22/2013 9:06 AM

Summary: Picking apart Microsoft's latest financials shows you can't split the company neatly between home and business any more, thanks to the cloud.

 

A little while back there were predictions that, while Microsoft might continue to succeed in the enterprise market where it has multiple billion-dollar businesses, it would lose out on the consumer side to Apple and Google.

So does the 'collapsing' PC market mean that's finally happening? Not necessarily.

As Simon Bisson pointed out recently, PC sales are dropping not just because people are buying cheaper tablets that can do some of what a PC does, but because the PC they already has is good enough and they don't need a new one nearly as often.

Consumers haven't stopped needing those PCs, even if they use them less and use other devices more. Or, as analyst Rob Enderle put it recently: "PCs aren't being replaced by alien devices, rather, they are evolving into devices that are smaller, portable, and increasingly pull their performance from servers."

The merging of consumer and enterprise

There's also less difference between 'consumer' and 'enterprise' than there used to be (and not just because of the use of consumer devices and services in the office).

Businesses and home users both care about connectivity and uptime, because if my DSL or my cloud provider goes down then I haven't got my email, my photos or my business applications any more. They're both buying into services more than products: Office 365, subscriptions to Office Home Premium or extra space on Google Drive, for example.

Yes, the specific services a business and a home user buy will be different and have different features — and the service the home user gets might be free because companies can sell ads on it, or because it's a loss leader to tie them in to a broader ecosystem. Equally, consumer services often don't have extra features businesses need: I would prefer users in my office to put files onSharePoint Online or Box instead of Dropbox. But that's more about how well you understand your market; increasingly, the skills companies need to build and run those services are similar, and the way to make money from them is to have both efficiency and scale.

 

By SuperUser Account on 4/19/2013 7:52 AM

 

Microsoft’s Q3 2013 Results Beat Expectations With EPS Of $0.72, Miss On $20.49B In Revenue, CFO Peter Klein Leaving

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Microsoft just reported the results for its third financial quarter of 2013. The company’s revenue came in just under expectations at $20.49 billion but it beat expectation with an earnings per share of $0.72. Despite the muted response to Windows 8 and PC sales thatcontinue to disappoint, the analyst consensus was that Microsoft’s revenue would increase 13 percent compared to last year. The expectation was that Microsoft would report $20.56 billion in revenue and EPS of $0.68 this quarter, compared to the $0.60 EPS and $17.41 billion in revenue Microsoft reported in Q3 2012.ERQ32013

“The bold bets we made on cloud services are paying off as people increasingly choose Microsoft services including Office 365, Windows Azure, Xbox LIVE, and Skype,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft in the announcement. “While there is still work to do, we are optimistic that the bets we’ve made on Windows devices position us well for the long-term.”

 
By SuperUser Account on 4/16/2013 9:08 AM


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Satya NadellaSatya Nadella

As president of Microsoft’s server and tools division, a $19 billion-a-year business devoted to databases, servers and other software products, Satya Nadella has a predictable cast of competitors to worry about. There is Oracle, VMware, SAP and a bunch of other makers of highly technical products that make everyday services like banking and airline reservations work, even if the software running them is invisible to most consumers.

But one of Mr. Nadella’s competitors – Amazon – is not like the others.

The Internet retailer is beloved by consumers for its seemingly infinite online selection of merchandise available for one-click purchasing, speedy delivery and Kindle e-readers. Out of view of most of the public, though, it has transformed itself into a huge player in the field of cloud computing. By renting capacity on the industrial-strength servers and beefy Internet connections in its data centers to anyone willing to pay for it, Amazon has become the virtual landlord of choice for technology start-ups, including the likes of Instagram and Foursquare.

Microsoft wants a piece of the action. On Tuesday, the company is opening to general availability a new service that competes directly with Amazon’s cloud offering. (Microsoft has been testing the service with customers for the past year.) And to make sure it’s taken seriously, Microsoft is committing to match Amazon’s prices for its cloud service, which is known as the Elastic Compute Cloud.

 

By SuperUser Account on 3/22/2013 11:08 AM
April 16-17 – Durham, NCOnline Registration now available!   Join over 100 marquee Mi-Forms Tablet users, business partners and invited guests to discuss the use and evolution of mobile capture across industries and organizations.  PartnerEd 2013 will be packed with examples of how companies can save time and money in implementing mobile data capture applications using Tablet technology.  ...
By SuperUser Account on 2/19/2013 12:21 PM

  

The Resource Group Celebrates 25th Anniversary
Over the past 25 years, The Resource Group has grown from a two-person team working out of a home office to a multi-department company employing more than 25 employees.
 
Renton, Wash. – The Resource Group is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The Resource Group is a leading provider of Microsoft Dynamics® GP (formerly, Great Plains), helping clients utilize their software solution to gain business insight and manage their organization more efficiently and effectively.
 
To celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary, The Resource Group plans to hold a special customer event later this year with details to come in a future announcement.
 
The Resource Group was founded in 1988 by Marty and Denise Schillaci who had a vision to start their own company to assist businesses in moving from physical ledger and spreadsheet accounting to fully-automated, financial software solutions. The business thrived immediately due to the demand and shortly thereafter, a partnership was formed with Great Plains Software (now owned by Microsoft).
By SuperUser Account on 2/7/2013 9:39 AM

We are partnering again with a leader in the B2B Tech Lead Generation space to provide our members with a group discount on a very comprehensive White Paper lead generation program. You provide the White Paper you wish to promote, and they promote it aggressively, and provide you with detailed contact information on those users that found it in a search, read a summary, and requested a download. Let me know by simple Reply to this email if you are interested or have questions. Here is the offer:
 


If you are looking for ways to attract clients and put your white papers, case studies and other content to its best use, we can now generate leads for you in a unique and efficient way. We have developed the first and only ad server technology for lead generation. Their technology is licensed to over 450 premiere b2b publishers (Ziff Davis, IDG, Haymarket, etc. and even LinkedIn Groups) and allows us to syndicate your content to IT decision makers while they are on the web doing research for their job. The ad server is dynamic so your content is being placed in front of IT professionals who are searching for topics related to your product on relevant websites. You can think of this technology as the "DoubleClick of lead generation." 

 
By SuperUser Account on 1/16/2013 10:00 AM

 

I ran across the Virtual Partner Concierge service from Microsoft Partner Network team recently, and thought it was worth reviewing and sharing.

I know our non-U.S. partners hate it when I say this, but this service is only for U.S. Partners it seems.... I will try to do a better job of find non-U.S. partner resources for our next post, I promise...

Here is how the VPN is described on the site:

The Virtual Partner Concierge is for members of the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) located in the United States. Virtual Partner Concierge offers an easy-to-use way to discover the online content from Microsoft partner-facing sites that is most relevant to your organization and your role in that organization. Use Virtual Partner Concierge to see content and connection recommendations from Microsoft U.S. team members who have expertise in specific aspects of the partner business, then give them feedback about those recommendations to help improve them

How is Virtual Partner Concierge different from the Microsoft U.S. partner portal and other Microsoft partner-facing sites?

Virtual Partner Concierge is not intended to be its own site, but to offer a new experience for U.S. partners to find content across the various Microsoft partner-facing sites. In Concierge, partners can choose the content “view” that best represents what they want to accomplish online, based on organization and individual profile data from the Microsoft Partner Network membership center.

What information can I expect to see in Virtual Partner Concierge?

By SuperUser Account on 1/10/2013 5:25 PM

By David  Pogue

A few months back, Microsoft raised a lot of eyebrows by selling its first computer: the Surface tablet. For the same $500 that gets you an iPad, it offers better hardware and more jacks. It has only one drawback: it can’t run any PC software.

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Or, more precisely, it can’t run any of the four million standard Windows programs. Instead, it requires a new type of app, a more limited, full-screen, iPaddish sort of app, available only from Microsoft’s online store. And there aren’t many of those apps, although the situation is slowly improving.

The world slavered, however, over Microsoft’s intention to release a second version of the Surface — the Pro — that would, in fact, be a genuine PC, running the real Windows and real Windows apps. Can you imagine how cool that would be? To have a tablet that was also a full-blown PC?

It’s almost here. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft didn’t have a booth and didn’t give the usual opening talk (instead, Qualcomm took that slot, embarrassingly and hilariously). But representatives were there, in a hotel room far from the show, giving a few reporters an early look at the Surface Pro.

It’s thicker than the original Surface tablet, just over half an inch thick. It’s heavier: 2 pounds instead of 1.5. And it’s more expensive: $900 with 64 gigabytes of storage, $1,000 with 128.

By SuperUser Account on 1/10/2013 9:44 AM

We've had a lot of questions from partners recently regarding their MPN Renewal process, so I thought I would create and share a short list of key links.  If you like, you can just store this email (drag down to Outlook Tasks for example) so that you can reference it when you have questions or wish to start the renewal process.

Microsoft Partner Network Overview

 

Determine which membership requirements you currently meet

 

Learn about earning a silver of gold competencies

 

Learn about and order the Microsoft Action Pack subscription

By SuperUser Account on 12/13/2012 10:38 AM

Summary: Microsoft employees are taking delivery of their promised free Surface RT devices, starting this week.

 

Back at the Microsoft company meeting in September, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer played Santa early, promising that all Microsoft employees would get Surface RT tablet/PCs and Windows Phone 8 devices.

christmassurface

As reported by Geekwire, the word was all full-time direct, employees (a.k.a. Blue Badges/FTEs) would get a Surface RT machine for use at work and home. The announcement was a real morale booster (based on a few tweets I saw escape the supposedly tweet-free Key Arena where the company meeting was held).

By SuperUser Account on 12/4/2012 1:50 PM

Microsoft's latest Dynamics AX, GP and CRM upgrades pack plenty of new features, but promised cloud, mobile and marketing options have been delayed.

Microsoft announced Tuesday that it will deliver three significant Dynamics application upgrades this month: Dynamics AX 2012 R2, Dynamics GP 2013 and the December update of Dynamics CRM Online. There's plenty of new functionality to consider with each upgrade, but Microsoft is falling behind on a few capabilities promised earlier this year.

Microsoft stoked expectations for hybrid cloud, cross-mobile-platform and cross-browser capabilities at theDynamics Convergence Conference in March. But Microsoft executives told InformationWeek on Monday that an anticipated Microsoft Azure public-cloud deployment option for Dynamics NAV and Dynamics GP ERP apps has been pushed back into the first half of next year. And on the mobile front, cross-platform HTML5 capabilities won't show up until 2014, so access on iPad, iPhone and Android devices is limited to Dynamics CRM.

Global language and regulatory support is common, but it's rarely supported on a single-instance deployment, according to analyst Ray Wang of Constellation Research.The biggest news with Dynamics AX 2012 R2 is that Microsoft's most scalable ERP system can now support multiple languages, multiple national tax and compliance regimes, and multiple vertical-industry capabilities on a single-instance deployment. According to Microsoft, supporting global needs from a single instance ensures faster deployments and easier and more cost-effective administration than the alternative, which is running separate geography-specific or industry-specific instances.

By SuperUser Account on 11/20/2012 9:23 AM

Opportunities in the Cloud Start Today!

Get The Tools You Need to Build a Thriving Cloud Practice

Join the Microsoft Cloud Program

Drive new revenue when you develop or sell cloud solutions based on innovative Microsoft technologies. Start by enrolling in the Microsoft Cloud Essentials Pack, and then qualify for the advanced Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Program to earn additional benefits.

Start with Microsoft Cloud Essentials Pack

Are you new to the cloud? Get resources designed to help you start your cloud practice:

  • Leverage internal-use licenses for Microsoft Office 365, Windows Intune, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to build sales acumen, and expand online development skills with the Windows Azure Platform.
  • Access targeted cloud training courses and learning paths to help build your cloud expertise
  • Drive new opportunities with Microsoft Pinpoint and Microsoft Office 365 Marketplace participation.
  • Use delegated administration and the partner dashboard to manage customer trials and accounts
  • Increase revenue by qualifying for advisor incentives.

 

By SuperUser Account on 11/15/2012 1:14 PM

 

PRESS RELEASE

   For Immediate Release

 

 

Orange County, CA — June 8, 2012 — Collins Computing, Inc. is pleased to announce their inclusion in Bob Scott’s Top 100 VARs list for 2012. This is Collins Computing’s 9th consecutive year receiving this honor—emphasizing their successful track record in this industry.

Randy Forkner, President of Collins Computing, states “Our ranking on the Top 100 list is due to our many clients who trust us to solve their financial, supply chain, customer relationship management (CRM), business intelligence, and non-profit business issues. We have a dedicated team at Collins, built solely to implement, service, train, and customize the software solutions our clients need to more efficiently run their growing organizations.” 

 

By SuperUser Account on 10/23/2012 1:14 PM

 
The day-long annual event offered a sneak peek at Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013, the latest product release from Microsoft.
 
Renton, Wash. – Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013, the latest enterprise resource planning (ERP) software scheduled for release from Microsoft, took center stage at RG Connect 2012, The Resource Group’s 12th annual Customer Conference held October 11, 2012, at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle. The Resource Group is a leading provider of Microsoft Dynamics® GP (formerly, Great Plains), helping customers utilize their software solution to gain business insight and manage their organization more efficiently and effectively.
 
 
By SuperUser Account on 10/22/2012 8:49 AM

 

By Gene Marks

I’m enviously sneaking looks at the guy sitting next to me.  It’s pretty obvious that he’s a winner.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 18:  The Microsoft tabl...

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 18: The Microsoft tablet Surface is unveiled during a news conference at Milk Studios on June 18, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The new Surface tablet utilizes a 10.6 inch screen with a cover that contains a full multitouch keyboard. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

We’re on a four-hour flight toDenver on a WiFi equipped plane and he’s got an iPad.  I’m watching him.  He’s thoroughly enjoying it.  I can see he’s using it to read theNew York Times.  And he’s checking email and browsing the web.  An hour or so into the flight he’s absorbed in an episode of Homeland.  I notice that the screen resolution is…well…brilliant.  I also notice others on the plane with their iPads – watching videos, listening to music and reading.   As we prepare to land, my seatmate neatly tucks the little device away into his shoulder bag like it was a paperback book.  Like the other iPad users, he’s a winner.  He’s happy and cool and probably connecting on a flight back to the Bay area where he’ll sip California wine and discuss that week’s zillion dollar deals with his venture capital friends (who will also be using iPads).

 

By SuperUser Account on 10/11/2012 7:32 AM
 

Microsoft has been providing their Ready-to-Go Marketing services for Partners for years, and it has gotten a bit more thorough since I last checked it out.  If you haven't done so already, it's worth a peek:

https://readytogo.microsoft.com/en-us/Pages/Home.aspx 

Here's a summary of what you can get to help support your Sales and Marketing Efforts:

Content Finder - This is a nifty resource for finding marketing content specifically by Product Area, Target Market, Solution Area, or Vertical.  You can filter by any of these criteria and find: Sales Tools Event Resources Partner Readiness Information Marketing Templates Digital Marketing Material Web Syndication Services Competitive Resources And Marketing Graphics ...
By SuperUser Account on 10/9/2012 8:54 AM

  

For Immediate Release
For more information, contact:
Harry Brelsford
Founder and Chairman
SMB Nation
206-201-2944
 
SMB Nation Announces Pre-Day Content for 2012 Fall Conference
 
Media integration company will host a selection of well-rounded Pre-Day Sessions on Oct. 11, 2012, at the Rio Conference Center in Las Vegas.
 
Bainbridge Island, Wash. – September 28, 2012 – SMB Nation announced today that as part of its 10th Annual Fall Conference, it will hold a selection of well-rounded and diverse Pre-Day Sessions on Thursday, Oct. 11, at the Rio Conference Center in Las Vegas. With the conference kicking off officially on Friday, Oct. 12, with a theme based on “Back to the Future,” it is being touted as one that will discuss “Life After Small Business Server (SBS) Pivot or Perish.”
 
In addition to the content featured at the fall conference during Oct. 12-14, SMB Nation’s Pre-Day will offer attendees a full day of education that will touch on a variety of topics headlined by some of the industry’s most well-known thought leaders. Beginning at 9 a.m. on Oct. 11, the Pre-Day will include the following sessions:
 
CompTIA Quick Start Session to Crafting a Mobility Offering: In this 45-60 minute session, Mike Davis, Senior Contributing Author, Information Week, will share with attendees some of the steps for building a successful mobility strategy, including tips on bundling and marketing solutions. Attendees also receive a copy of the CompTIA Quick Start Guide to Crafting a Mobility Offering.
By SuperUser Account on 10/4/2012 7:55 AM

 

Microsoft is providing some great resources for Partners to get up to speed on Windows 8.  Here is a great free training resource that includes online instruction for:

  • Windows 8 Partner Opportunity
  • Windows 8 Delivering the CXO "Pitch"
  • Windows 8 Licensing Overview
  • Windows 8 Value for Small and Midsized Businesses
  • Windows 8 Value for Enterprise Scenarious
  • Windows 8 and Windows RT Devices


And here are some other Partner Resources around Windows 8:

 

By SuperUser Account on 9/26/2012 9:20 AM

Leveraging Microsoft as a Partner

Join Larry Gregory (20 year Microsoft veteran and longtime Microsoft Partner Lead) for a practical discussion on how to leverage Microsoft as a partner.  This includes how Microsoft is organized to help ISVs support new technologies, market their offerings, and sell into enterprise customers.  You’ll leave knowing how to effectively communicate with relevant Microsoft roles and teams, align your messaging with Microsoft priorities and motivations, and tap into Microsoft marketing resources. 

Who Should Attend: CEO, VP of Strategic Alliances, VP of Channel Strategy, Channel Manager, Alliance Manager, Partner Account Manager 

 

By SuperUser Account on 9/24/2012 8:02 AM
By Fritz Nelson Vice President, Editorial Director InformationWeek Business Technology Network   

Windows 8, Microsoft's attempt to unify under a single platform all end user computing devices--desktop, laptop, ultrabook, tablet, smartphone--arrives at a moment when the company badly needs a foothold in the most dynamic segment of that market: mobile. It'll be a pretty grand trick if Redmond can pull that off, but I'm not betting against it.

After two years of getting bloodied by Apple and Google, Microsoft now seems positioned for a turnaround success story. Windows 8 is a big, bold, disruptive move, the kind that just might persuade CIOs to rethink a suddenly fractured end user support strategy. Not since Windows 95, which solidified Microsoft's hold on the desktop computer, has there been a more significant operating system launch from the software giant (and yes, software is still its focus, Xbox consoles and Surface tablets notwithstanding).

Windows is entrenched in enterprises and on home computers to an extent Google and Apple can only dream about. There are 1.3 billion Windows users worldwide, according to Microsoft, thanks mostly to the "reverse BYOD" (bring your office to your home) trend prevalent during the past decade.

...
By SuperUser Account on 9/21/2012 7:58 AM
HTC announced today that it will launch two new Windows Phone 8 devices this fall, the Windows Phone 8X and the 8S. Both feature new audio and camera capabilities, and were created specifically to show off the Windows Phone 8 operating system’s “iconic design and personality,” said HTC CEO Peter Chou.

NEW YORK CITY – Sept. 19, 2012 – HTC unveiled two new Windows Phones, the Windows Phone 8X and 8S, at a press event today. “Pairing HTC’s beautiful new Windows Phone 8X and 8S with our brand is a big milestone for both companies,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “Together we are offering customers a clear choice and a truly unique experience. I’m thrilled to take our longstanding partnership to the next level.”

The Windows Phone 8X has a 4.3-inch screen, a 1.5 GHz processor, and an 8MP camera. The camera also has an ultra-wide angle lens, good for fitting everyone into group shots, using Skype, and more.

Both HTC phones are available in a variety of colors, and both feature Beats Audio, a “studio-quality” sound system with deeper bass and crisp vocals as well as a number of cutting-edge camera capabilities, including an 88-degree ultra-wide angle front-facing lens that allows up to four people and more to be captured at once.

By SuperUser Account on 9/20/2012 8:31 AM
Former president of CBS Television Entertainment Group to lead new Los Angeles-based production studio and serve as a key liaison for Microsoft entertainment initiatives.
 
Nancy Tellem, former president of CBS Network Television Entertainment Group, has joined Microsoft as Entertainment & Digital Media president.
Nancy Tellem
September 18, 2012
Nancy Tellem, former president of CBS Network Television Entertainment Group, has joined Microsoft as Entertainment & Digital Media president. 

REDMOND, Wash.  Sept. 18, 2012 Microsoft Corp. today announced that Nancy Tellem, former president of CBS Network Television Entertainment Group, has joined Microsoft as Entertainment & Digital Media president.

In her role reporting to Phil Spencer, corporate vice president, Microsoft Studios, Tellem will oversee the launch of a newly created production studio in Los Angeles that will develop interactive and linear content for Xbox and other devices. In addition to running the production studio, she will help spearhead the company’s efforts to turn Xbox into a destination where consumers can enjoy all their entertainment in one place.

Tellem and her group will collaborate with the creative community to develop unique, compelling storytelling experiences for the Xbox brand. More than just a gaming console, Xbox has evolved into a consumer destination for the world’s most popular TV, movies, music and sports content. With a roster of more than 65 entertainment apps, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO GO, MLB.TV, ESPN, YouTube and VEVO,global video consumption on Xbox LIVE has increased 140 percent during the past year. In addition, this September, Microsoft will introduce 2-way TV experiences from renowned entertainment partners Sesame Workshop and National Geographic that will further expand the Xbox platform beyond games, offering entertainment options for everyone in the family.

By SuperUser Account on 9/19/2012 8:17 AM

(Reuters) - The German government urged the public on Tuesday to temporarily stop using Microsoft Corp's Internet Explorer following discovery of a yet-to-be repaired bug in the Web browser that the software maker said makes PCs vulnerable hacker attacks.

It issued the warning as a researcher said he found evidence that suggests the hackers who exploited the flaw were seeking to attack defense contractors.

Microsoft (MSFT.O) said on Monday that attackers can exploit the bug in its Internet Explorer, used on hundreds of millions of computers, to infect the PC of somebody who visits a malicious website and then take control of the victim's computer.

The German government's Federal Office for Information Security, or BSI, said it was aware of targeted attacks and that all that was needed was to lure Web surfers to a website where hackers had planted malicious software that exploited the bug.

By SuperUser Account on 9/18/2012 8:23 AM

 

In the suspense-filled lead-up to the release of its Surface tablets, Microsoft has declined to discuss how much the devices will actually cost--until now, at least. In a Friday interviewwith The Seattle Times , Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hinted at a pricing ballpark: $300 to “$700 or $800,” quelling rumors that the Surface RT would sell at the bargain, Kindle Fire-esque price of $199. Also revealed in the interview: The Surface tablets will indeed be sold inside Microsoft's fall-season pop-up stores in malls around the country.

The Times managed to coax the pricing expectations from Ballmer by asking if Microsoft was planning to compete against the iPad on price or on features. The answer, it seems, is features: Ballmer noted that when companies make tablets to be cheaper “they do less. They look less good, they’re chintzier, they’re cheaper.” His example was the original $199 7-inch Kindle Fire, which is anything but a productivity device.

By SuperUser Account on 9/17/2012 9:04 AM
Knight Ridder/Tribune  09/16/2012 3:58 AM ET

Sept. 16--This fall, Microsoft is embarking on one of its biggest series of launches ever, with new versions or updates of nearly all its products and services, from Windows to Windows Phone, Office to Windows Server.

On top of that, the company is debuting its first branded computing devices: the Surface tablets.

Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer, who has called this year "the most epic year in Microsoft history," sat down for an interview with The Seattle Times last week to talk about the new products and services, the state of the company and the future.

Here is the interview, edited for length:

Q: You've talked about this year being the most epic. Is there another year in Microsoft's history you could compare this to? Maybe the launch of Windows 95?

A: You know, Windows 95 was certainly the biggest thing in the last 20 years until now. I think Windows 8 certainly surpasses it. It's a little hard to compare things like the founding (of the company) and the introduction of the first popular PC and the system that popularized it, but it's at that scale.

...
By SuperUser Account on 9/14/2012 8:58 AM
By Jeremy Kirk | IDG News Service

Malware embedded inside counterfeit versions of Windows on brand-new laptop and desktop computers is engineered to conduct denial-of-service attacks

Brand-new laptop and desktop computers sold in China contain preinstalled malicious software, which has infected millions of computers around the world, according to an investigation by Microsoft revealed on Thursday.

The malware, embedded in counterfeit versions of Microsoft's Windows OS, is engineered to spy on users and conduct denial-of-service attacks, Microsoft said. It warned that the findings pose fresh questions over the integrity of computer-part supply chains.

[ InfoWorld's expert contributors show you how to secure your Web browsers in the "Web Browser Security Deep Dive"...
By SuperUser Account on 9/14/2012 8:52 AM
By Zach Walton 

 

Microsoft Gives Its 90,000 Employees Free Surface Tablets

Microsoft holds an employee event every year where Steve Ballmer discusses the state of the company. It’s a good way to increase morale and give the company’s 90,000 employees an idea of where the company is headed next year. This year was a little different, however, as Ballmer got into the holiday spirit a little early.

Ballmer announced at the event that every single full-time Microsoft employee would be getting a Surface tablet, a Windows Phone 8, and a new touch-enabled Windows 8 PC. Employees will be able to use the Surface and Windows Phone at home and work, but the PC is strictly for work. Microsoft employees were reportedly ecstatic with the gifts and took to social networks...
By SuperUser Account on 9/12/2012 7:43 AM

 

Watch presentations by S. Somasegar and others during today's Visual Studio 2012 Launch at 9:30 a.m. PDT, watch and participate in the social buzz around the event, download a trial version, and more here.

http://www.visualstudiolaunch.com/vs2012vle/Home

 

By SuperUser Account on 9/11/2012 7:49 AM

Retail analyst calls move 'forward-thinking' but wonders if the temp stores can do the job

Computerworld

Microsoft today said it would open nearly three dozen 'pop-up' stores this fall in U.S. and Canadian malls and shopping centers to sell its own hardware and software.  Although the company declined to confirm that those stores will sell theSurface for Windows RT tablet -- the name of the Microsoft-made device slated to launch Oct. 26 -- one analyst expects that the tablet will be on the shelves.

"This is certainly attached to the Windows 8, Surface and Windows Phone 8 strategy," said Stephen Baker, a veteran retail analyst with the NPD Group. "They're short of [permanent] stores right now, they're not even where they want to be, but this will let them get more of the notice and interest they want to get [for the Surface]."

The 32 stores, which will appear in U.S. cities such as Atlanta, Denver, New York and Portland, and in Canadian cities as well -- Edmonton and Toronto, for example -- will be temporary outlets open only during the holiday season, not permanent locations like the two-dozen brick-and-mortar Microsoft stores already in operation.

"These holiday stores will allow customers to have hands-on experience with and identify the best Microsoft products for their personal and gift-giving needs," Microsoft said in a statement today.

By SuperUser Account on 9/10/2012 7:29 AM

By:  

Kindle Fire HD hands-on

Definitely a big win for Microsoft, all Web searches will be routed through Bing as the default search engine on the Kindle Fire HD.

 

Noticed first by UberGizmo at Amazon’s press conference in Santa Monica this week, the default search engine used in the search box of the Web browser was Microsoft’s Bing. According to confirmations from Microsoft and Amazon, all Kindle Fire tablets will ship with Bing as the preset default for the search box. While users have the option of switching the search engine utilized by the search box within the browser settings to another service like Google or Yahoo, it’s unlikely that the average consumer will bother to swap out the search engine. In the first version of the Kindle Fire released last year, the default search engine was Google. According to Amazon, Bing will now replace Google in the revamped Kindle Fire and all versions of the Kindle Fire HD

By SuperUser Account on 9/6/2012 7:45 AM

By  for Cloud Watch

Summary: Three companies each have their own method of linking an organisation’s datacentre with public clouds, but each one holds risks and benefits for the customer that must be considered. 

With Microsoft's new version of Windows Server, the company has committed to a proprietary model of computing where the Redmond software giant makes sure all roads lead to Azure, its own cloud offering.

Microsoft's update is just one of the moves underway as tech companies look to consolidate their positions in the vitally important cloud computing space. Three of the largest players, Microsoft, VMware and Amazon, are trying to strengthen their positions using very different strategies that will force big - and hard-to-reverse - decisions on the organisations that adopt their technologies, and raise issues about vendor lock-in and standards.

Better the devil you know

Microsoft's tactic is simple - most enterprises use its desktop operating system and a large amount use its server management software as well. (In the second quarter of 2012, just under half [47.9 percent] of all the revenue generated from worldwide server shipping came from Windows Server boxes, according to IDC.)
Windows Azure

However, much of these workloads could easily move to the private cloud, where Microsoft is in competition with companies like VMware, or to the public cloud, where fewer companies use Microsoft's Windows Azure compared to Amazon Web Services's suite of technologies.

Microsoft's solution, along with tweaking its Windows Azure public cloud, is to have more of the characteristics of Amazon's, and to update Windows Server to be its 'cloud OS'. It has attempted to do this by increasing the capabilities of its Hyper-V hypervisor to add better replication and software-defined networking features, along with usability tweaks to bring the user interface in line with the clean, modern interface used in Azure. 

 

By SuperUser Account on 8/24/2012 2:11 PM

 

Out with the old, in with the new -- logo, that is. As Redmond gets ready to unleash Windows 8 and a wave of other new products, it does a little design housekeeping.
By Jonathan Skillings

 

New Microsoft logo

Microsoft's new logo at its new Boston store.

(Credit: Jim Kerstetter/CNET)

Microsoft has a brand-new logo to go with all the brand-spankin' new products it's got coming this fall.

The new design uses the long-standing Windows logo as its starting point, but gone are the wavy edges of that older look. The graphic element of the new logo is one squared-away image: the colors remain the same, and in the same order, but now they're enclosed in a square box. Equilateral sides, 90-degree angles, ta-da!

Overall, the updated logo is both the colorful graphic at the left and the newly refonted "Microsoft" to the right.

Microsoft new logo

 


 

 

By SuperUser Account on 8/21/2012 8:56 AM

From the USA Today Tech

 REDMOND, Wash. — It's been almost a year since since Microsoft completed its $8.5 billion acquisition of Internet calling firm Skype, used by consumers and businesses globally to make cheap calls and calls over video. To some regular users, "skyping" has become a verb. Before landing at Microsoft, the company was founded in 2003, and eventually acquired by eBay.USA TODAY's Edward C. Baig recently talked withTony Bates, president of the Skype Division, aboutSkype's direction.Edited for space and clarity.

Q: How is the marriage going with Microsoft?

A: Very well. Skype has always been much more than just a way of doing low-cost calling. We think we can change the way people communicate across multiple platforms — on your PC, the mobile phone, in your living room. And we set our goal to get to not just hundreds of millions but billions of users, and change it from an experience that wasn't just an appointment to talk like we're doing now but became an everyday sharing experience.

There's a huge set of great assets that we can leverage within the Microsoft family to accelerate that vision to get to a billion people.

Q: How close are you to the billion?

A: 254 million monthly active users. We've been consistently growing somewhere around 40% year on year, and that's pretty dramatic when you consider the base is going up.

Q: What works with Microsoft that maybe didn't work with eBay and some previous owners of Skype?

 

By SuperUser Account on 6/21/2012 8:11 AM

   

 
 

Microsoft on Monday unveiled its own tablet that features the Windows 8 operating system in a late attempt to take on Apple and Google who are dominating the white-hot space. TheMicrosoft Surface stands out from other offerings, with a built-in kickstand and keyboard cover. But the Redmond software giant didn’t announce when the product would be available or a price tag, which left many questions surrounding the company’s ability to woo consumers away from a flood of competing devices.

By SuperUser Account on 6/4/2012 12:01 PM

Drive new revenue when you develop or sell cloud solutions based on innovative Microsoft technologies. Start by enrolling in the Microsoft Cloud Essentials Pack, and then qualify for the advanced Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Program to earn additional benefits.

The Microsoft Cloud Essentials Pack

Are you new to the cloud? Get resources designed to help you start your cloud practice:

  • Leverage internal-use licenses for Microsoft Office 365, Windows Intune, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to build sales acumen, and expand online development skills with the Windows Azure Platform.
  • Get expert support and grow your expertise with technical guidance and targeted training.
  • Drive new opportunities with Microsoft Pinpoint and Microsoft Office 365 Marketplace participation.
The Microsoft Cloud Essentials Pack Software Benefits
Microsoft Technology
License Grant
Microsoft Office 365
250 licenses
 
 
Note: If you intend to sell Office 365 you will need to sign the Microsoft Online Services Partner Agreement (MOSPA) and complete the required assessments in order to access your partner sales features benefit. Learn about MOSPA.
Windows Intune
Subscription for 25 PCs
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online
250 licenses
 
Note: If you intend to sell Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, you must meet all the requirements of the CRM Software Advisor Program in order to be able to receive CRM Online advisor fees. Learn more.
Windows Azure platform
375 hours of small compute instance, 20 gigabytes of storage, and 250,000 storage transactions
  • Microsoft SQL Azure Web Edition database: 1 gigabyte
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Listing as Cloud Essentials partner on the Microsoft Pinpoint online marketplace
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For Partners Who Sell and Service
For Partners Who Build and Develop
  • Enroll in the Microsoft Partner Network.
  • Sign the Microsoft Online Services Partner Agreement (MOSPA) and complete introductory training and an assessment. Learn about MOSPA.
  • To continue receiving these benefits in your second year of enrollment, you must meet a modest sales requirement of 50 seats per product during your first year of enrollment.
  • Enroll in the Microsoft Partner Network.
  • Sign up on Microsoft Platform Ready and register your application.
  • To continue receiving these benefits in your second year of enrollment, you must meet a modest sales requirement of 50 seats per product during your first year of enrollment.
Annual Fee
There is no fee for this program.

 

By SuperUser Account on 6/1/2012 8:44 AM

Windows 8 Release Preview

It's Windows reimagined and reinvented from a solid core of Windows 7 speed and reliability. It's an all-new touch interface. It's a new Windows for new devices. And it's easy to try now—whether you're installing it for the first time, or moving from Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

Get it now

Frequently asked questions

Here are answers to some common questions about Windows 8 Release Preview. We'll update this list with more questions and answers, so check back later.

By SuperUser Account on 5/30/2012 11:26 AM
May 24, 2012
Alliance to change the dynamics of the modern Catholic classroom and provide students and educators worldwide with tools and training to succeed in the 21st-century workforce.

REDMOND, Wash. — May 24, 2012 — The Catholic International Education Office (OIEC) has entered into an education alliance with Microsoft Corp. to provide Office 365 for its community of Catholic schools across the world as part of a new Social Network for Catholic Education. This will begin with provision of software for 4.5 million students as part of a three-year alliance plan but in time has the potential to scale across OIEC’s community of more than 43 million Catholic students at 210,000 schools in 102 countries. The new network will provide innovative software, services, training and access to technologies that will better prepare students for the jobs of the future.


By SuperUser Account on 5/25/2012 12:41 PM

Corporate technology managers must take time when deciding on Windows, Office upgrade path

By Juan Carlos Perez
May 25, 2012 06:00 AM ET
Microsoft's big upgrade year

IDG News Service - Microsoft is in the midst of an unprecedented, massive upgrade cycle for its enterprise software products, a refresh wave that represents a major challenge for CIOs and IT managers responsible for charting their companies' technology strategy.

Not only is Microsoft working on a major revamp of its flagship Windows operating system, but significant upgrades are coming to its Office products, the Explorer browser and a range of back-end enterprise products.

"There's definitely something unique going on here," said Ted Schadler, a Forrester Research analyst.

The current status and expected delivery dates of the various upgrades vary -- and in some cases, Microsoft hasn't yet provided specifics -- but the overall effort started last year and may carry over into 2013.

Unsurprisingly, the company is trumpeting the initiative with an intense marketing assault, and CIOs and IT directors must be ready to analyze the individual upgrades to decide which ones make sense for their companies.

"Microsoft is the strategic supplier. It's far and away the No. 1 most-used workforce technology. That makes it a critical supplier to the enterprise and every CIO needs to be extremely in touch with what Microsoft is doing," Schadler said.

Coming soon from Microsoft

Chief among the upgrades are new versions of Windows OSes for PCs, tablets, servers and possibly even phones. Microsoft says that Windows 8, now in beta testing, is a major revamp of the Windows 7 OS for PCs. It includes a new touch-optimized user interface called Metro designed for tablet devices, which have become popular among enterprise users.

new version of Internet Explorer (IE10), is also in progress, designed to take advantage of the new features and capabilities in Windows 8, particularly the Metro UI.

Microsoft is also revamping its Office family. The "Office 15" upgrade initiative,now in its early stages, will include new versions of productivity apps like Word, PowerPoint and Excel, and communications and collaboration products like Exchange/Outlook, Lync and SharePoint -- both on premise and as part of the cloud-hosted Office 365 suite.

By SuperUser Account on 5/18/2012 8:37 AM

Posted by Janet I. Tu

 

(This article is running in the print edition of The Seattle Times May 17, 2012. - Janet I. Tu)

When Facebook completes its initial public offering this week, Microsoft certainly will benefit financially.

At the high end, Facebook could be valued at up to $104 billion, which means Microsoft could see its original investment in Facebook grow in value from $240 million to up to $1.6 billion.

Microsoft, which now has a 1.8 percent stake in Facebook, is also planning to offer 6.6 million of its 33 million shares in the IPO. If valued at the high-end estimate of $38 per share, that means Microsoft would make some $250 million.

Not bad for what was a relatively small investment, for Microsoft, back in 2007.

But probably more important to Microsoft than the money is the partnership the two companies have built over the past six years. They've made mutually beneficial moves in the fight against their common competitor, Google.

"Facebook has been really valuable as a way for Microsoft to reach customers it couldn't get to otherwise," said Rob Helm, an analyst at independent research firm Directions on Microsoft. "It's an asset for Microsoft's business products as well."

By SuperUser Account on 5/11/2012 8:51 AM

In an effort to outdo Google's social search integration, Microsoft has tagged Facebook. Here's what the move means.

By Thomas Claburn   InformationWeek
May 11, 2012 09:05 AM

Search is going social, like it or not. In a few weeks, Microsoft plans to roll out a revised version of its Bing search engine that includes a way to involve Facebook friends in the search process.

While the move looks like a response to Google's Search Plus Your World social integration, announced in January, it's more than that. Microsoft believes it can make search better by enabling Bing users to pose questions during the search process to Facebook users. This functionality will be available to users shortly through a new sidebar interface.

Bing will also be aggregating content posted on social networks and services like Twitter, Foursquare, Quora, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Blogger, and presenting that content when relevant."You can post a question to get help from your Facebook friends as you search," explain Bing corporate VPs Derrick Connell and Harry Shum in a blog post. "You can 'tag' friends Bing suggests might know about the topic. In a few simple clicks you can share your search and your friends can reply to your question on either Facebook or Bing."

[ See Google Marries Google+ To Search Results . ]

All the major browsers support some form of privacy mode. Internet Explorer looks like it will be the first to get a publicity mode. Nonetheless, Microsoft insists it has made an effort to maximize privacy protections. The company says that while you're using Bing and signed into Facebook, Bing will only reveal content that friends could access through Facebook directly.

By SuperUser Account on 5/9/2012 9:28 AM
MirageTable demonstrationResearchers used the device to collaborate on how to build an object out of blocks

Related Stories

Microsoft has shown off an augmented reality system that allows users at different locations to work together on tabletop activities, sharing objects which they can both handle.

The MirageTable was demonstrated at a conference in Austin, Texas and is outlined on the firm's research site.

Researchers said it could "fool" the eye to suggest both parties were using a "seamless 3D shared task space".

The team admitted more work was needed before the system could be marketed.

Avoiding bulky equipment

The MirageTable uses a 3D-video projector to beam images onto a sheet of curved white plastic placed in front of the user.

At each end one of Microsoft's Kinect depth camera sensors is used to track the direction of each person's gaze as well as to capture the shape and appearance of objects placed on the surface and the participant sitting behind them.

Users are also required to wear shutter glasses in order to see the projected image in three dimensions. Two computers linked by a network connection are required to power the experience.

 

By SuperUser Account on 5/8/2012 11:05 AM

By 

Summary: Microsoft is cutting the name “Azure” out of the branding for its cloud services on its billing portal.

Microsoft is informing customers of its Windows Azure cloud that it is rebranding many, if not all, of the component services in a way that eliminates the “Azure” name on its billing portal.

“Windows Azure Compute” will now be known simply as “Cloud Services,” according to the Microsoft officials. SQL Azure is now known as “SQL Database.” Here’s the full list of what’s being rechristened:

(click on the table above to enlarge)

By SuperUser Account on 5/7/2012 2:03 PM
Service is built on three platforms - partner-extensible, richly programmable and automatically scalable

By Zach Walton

 Microsoft Announces Windows Azure Media Services

 

Microsoft definitely needs to give its cloud network – Windows Azure – a kick in the pants. If it wants to compete with the likes of Google’s and other cloud businesses, it’s going to have to step up its game. Microsoft announced its solution this morning – Windows Azure Media Services.

Microsoft says the new service is exactly as it sounds. It will be a collection of various media services that will all be accessible via the cloud. Those media services according to the official page are encoding and format conversion, content protection, on-demand streaming and live streaming. This content can be delivered to everything from desktops and laptops to game consoles and tablets.

 

By SuperUser Account on 5/2/2012 9:23 AM

The Paragon Report Provides Stock Research on Microsoft and Apple

 

 

 

NEW YORK, NY, May 02, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Things are starting to heat up in the e-book market with Microsoft's recent $300 million investment in Barnes & Noble Nook digital reader. News of the recent deal sent shares of Barnes & Noble soaring over $25 early Monday morning. With the new investment Microsoft looks to challenge Amazon and Apple in rapidly growing e-book industry. The Paragon Report examines investing opportunities in the Technology Sector and provides equity research on Microsoft Corporation MSFT -0.84% and Apple Inc. AAPL -0.01% .

Microsoft's $300 million investment will give them a 17.6 percent stake in a yet-to-be named subsidiary that will develop an application based on Barnes & Noble's Nook e-book platform for its Windows 8 operating system. The Nook e-book brand will combine with an education business that provides books and course materials for college students. This would allow Microsoft to enter the $12 billion education market competing with Amazon's Kindle e-reader and Apple's iPad. "Everyone wants to make sure it doesn't end up being just an Amazon world, or just an Apple world, or even an Amazon-Apple world," stated James McQuivey, an analyst with Forrester.

By SuperUser Account on 5/1/2012 9:33 AM

 

If it works out, this low-cost move by a company that trails in the e-book business could make Steve Ballmer look like a genius.

by  

 

 

 

 

Quite a lot has already been conjectured in the wake of Microsoft's decision to invest $300 million in a new joint venture with Barnes & Noble. Is a Windows Nook on the way? Are we witnessing a sly move to poke Google in the eye by fostering Android fragmentation? Or is this part of a longer range effort to help users e-books and articles across myriad devices?

Yes to all of the above. But there's not much sense in overthinking this. If you're Steve Ballmer, there's no way that you don't do this deal.

First, the $300 million is a rounding error for a company that did $17.4 billion in its most recent quarter. This was chump change next to what Facebook plunked down to buy Instagram and, really, a very small price to pay to get off the sidelines and into a hot market.

By SuperUser Account on 4/30/2012 9:36 AM

 By GINA CHON And SHIRA OVIDE

Microsoft Corp. MSFT +0.06% is making a $300 million investment in Barnes & Noble Inc.'s BKS +67.91% Nook digital-book business and college-texts unit in a move that helps value the prized Nook business, the companies said.

Microsoft will have a 17.6% stake in a new subsidiary for the businesses in a transaction that values them at $1.7 billion, the companies said. That compares with Barnes & Noble's current market capitalization of about $791 million and could fuel the argument of some analysts and investors that the digital business should be separated from the retail division.

As part of the move, there will be a Nook application included in the new Windows 8, which is scheduled to have a release preview in early June. Later this year, computers and tablets with Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system are expected to go on sale.

The alliance comes after the companies openly feuded over the Nook. Microsoft last year sued Barnes & Noble and the manufacturers of the Nook, charging the device infringed on its patents. Barnes & Noble said Microsoft was trying to "bully" smaller companies that used versions of Google Inc.'s GOOG -0.97% Android operating system, as Barnes & Noble does for the Nook.

As part of the Microsoft investment, the two parties have settled their patent litigation, and in the future, Barnes & Noble and the new subsidiary will have a royalty-bearing license under Microsoft's patents for the Nook, the companies said.


By SuperUser Account on 4/26/2012 10:51 AM

5 Reasons Microsoft SkyDrive is Better Than Google DriveAmid the excitement over Google Drive, the search giant's new Dropbox competitor, Microsoft recently improved a similar online sync and storage service, SkyDrive. Microsoft added the ability to store files online and sync across multiple devices right from your Windows or OS X desktop. That puts SkyDrive squarely in competition with Dropbox and Drive, five years after Microsoft first introduced its online storage solution in 2007.

If you're looking for a new service to sync and store files across multiple devices and the cloud, you should give SkyDrive a serious look. Not only do you get more free storage, but you'll also have an easier time managing online documents and you get free remote access to your home PC while you're on the go. Google Drive may be the current media darling, but for people just looking to get some work done here's why you should give SkyDrive a try.

Microsoft Office Formats

5 Reasons Microsoft SkyDrive is Better Than Google DriveDrive may offer deep integration with Google Docs, but Google Docs file formats do not offer deep integration with the rest of the productivity software world. If you want to edit a document in Google Docs you have to convert that file to Google's online formats. It doesn't matter if your original file was a simple text or HTML document, or the world's de facto standard, a Microsoft Office format. All of these files must be converted to Docs format before you can edit them. So when you download a native Docs file from Google Docs to your Drive folder, you are downloading a link that opens the document in your browser instead of the actual file., but that's a good amount of storage for the average user, and it's $10 cheaper per year than Google at $50 compared to Drive's $60. You can also buy just 20GB for $10 per year or you can get 50GB extra for $25 per year with SkyDrive.

 

By SuperUser Account on 3/6/2012 12:24 PM

Microsoft is currently running a big discount on our Dynamics ERP software – up to 85% off – Five users for $3k. This is the one piece of software not available to Microsoft Partners for internal use unless you have a Dynamics ERP competency. If you are currently evaluating accounting software, or are struggling with QuickBooks, PeachTree or Deltek, now is the time to look at Microsoft Dynamics ERP. For more information on that promotion, visit the “Grow your Business” site. 

Step 1: Find how many seats you are eligible to receive
 
Go to the MPN site and click on your competency. Silver is the default. 
 
If you are Gold Certified, you also need to click the word “gold”
 
Then scroll down to see a grid listing ALL ‘competency specific benefits with regard to MPN licenses’.
 
This is also a great section of the MPN site, if you take about 10-15 min to browse through the tabs shown 
By SuperUser Account on 1/12/2012 11:26 AM

By  - a technology writer for Bloomberg Businessweek.

Photograph by Jeff Minton

They had his dining room waiting. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s (MSFT) chief executive and one of the richest men in the world, often eats privately at a Bellevue (Wash.) steakhouse whose name remains, at the behest of his security guards, a secret. Ballmer uses the room to break bread with prospective partners, employees, and, on one frigid Northwestern evening in November, a reporter. Although the room has enough space to host a small bar mitzvah, on this particular night, there’s only one table, graced with four meticulously presented settings and located center-floor, surrounded by empty space. It’s here that Ballmer, 55 and worth about $14 billion, wages a twin battle on the reigning conventional wisdom that discounts Microsoft’s role in the new digital landscape—and on a pork chop and accompanying wedge salad.

“Four years ago, you know, I can remember statistically when we would have looked far more like the overdog in everything,” he says. “Now we’ve got battles where we’re big and strong and powerful, and we’ve got battles where other guys are moving, and it’s fun to work both from the front of the pack and from the back of the pack sometimes. They’re different kinds of competition, but they both drive you, push you.”


By SuperUser Account on 1/10/2012 10:36 AM

Since I'll be heading off to Vegas in a few weeks to setup our booth at a tradeshow, I was blown away by this time lapse video of the production of the Microsoft booth at CES...... pretty incredible stuff....

By SuperUser Account on 1/6/2012 9:16 AM

 By Fred Schruers at TheWrap

In the constant game of thrones that is the Silicon Valley tech giants’ battle for dominance, 2012 could be the year that Microsoft comes back from exile.

Having lost its beat about a decade ago, the software giant has more recently been plotting an aggressive grab for territory. 

And it's getting back in the game with actual innovation.

Flush with capital from its steady core businesses of software and servers, the company has been quietly busy with research and development in recent months and years.

The results are showing.

>> Windows 8, expected to come out in February in beta, is meant to operate at the heart of a Microsoft-wide ecosystem, one that bids to challenge Apple’s intuitive array of linked devices and functions. In introducing 8 at a developer's conference in Anaheim in September, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (pictured) was expansive, promising, "If Windows 8 is Windows re-imagined, we're also in the process of re-imagining Microsoft."

>> The X Box 360’s upgrade, via an improved dashboard and the Kinect add-on, is ahead of the pack as a user-friendly voice- and gesture-controlled device and stoking enthusiasm not only among the early adopters and tech geek websites but on Wall Street. With its inviting user interface, it set a record for Black Friday weekend console sales.

By SuperUser Account on 1/6/2012 9:08 AM

By 

Barnes & Noble may be shopping its successful Nook business around not because the ereader is in trouble, but because it's become such a whopping success. Two potential suitors include Google and Microsoft -- and Google is clearly the better choice.

Yesterday Barnes & Noble reported its earnings, and company executives said that they are considering spinning off the Nook business, either entirely or in part.

There are two reasons for the possible spinoff. First is that the Nook business may be worth much more as an independent company or partially owned by Barnes & Noble. Second is that Barnes & Noble may find it hard to continue to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars annually required to continue to grow the Nook.

The New York Times notes that the NOOK has been able to gain almost 30% of the ereader market share in the two years since it was launched, despite the Kindle's head start. Doing that costs plenty of money; the Times notes that by one estimate Barnes & Noble spends between $200 and $250 million a year on the Nook.

By SuperUser Account on 1/6/2012 8:59 AM
by Douglas Perry - source: Boston.com
 
Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's chief software architect and successor of Bill Gates in that role, is telling media that he is founding a new company.

ZoomSo far, we only know that the company is called Cocomo. There is no office yet, but just the note that he is hiring and that he won't be able to talk about the business "for some months". Ozzie indicated that the team includes people he worked with before. Boston.com reported that former Microsoft executives Matt Pope is a co-founder of Cocomo, and Ransom Richardson, another former Microsoft executive, joined the company as well.

There is a first public job posting that seeks a lead UX designer, for both smartphone and tablet iOS and Android platforms. The candidate the company would consider will have "had a minimum of several years of experience designing, building and delivering mobile apps on platforms such as iPhone,iPad, and Android." There are several notes that the individual will have to "understand and embrace the conceptual models, constraints and affordances of the mobile/social design environment", which would include "Email & SMS, Facebook, Google+, Twitter".

By SuperUser Account on 1/4/2012 9:30 AM

 

By Curt Woodward

Mobile industry leaders are looking for big moves in 2012 from the Seattle area’s two technology heavyweights, taking the lead from a surge by Google’s Android operating system, according to a new survey from Issaquah, WA-based Chetan Sharma Consulting.

Sharma’s 2012 Mobile Industry Predictions Survey, compiled from about 150 responses through the consulting firm’s global mailing list of industry insiders, also predicts that mobile payments and commerce will remain a big focus for businesses and consumers alike, further roiling the waters for retailers.

When asked what the biggest storyline of 2012 would be, survey respondents put Amazon’s entry into mobile in second place, with a Microsoft and Nokia “resurgence” close behind in third (the top story was the continued growth of mobile data usage worldwide).

By SuperUser Account on 1/4/2012 9:22 AM

Have to edit a Word document? Poor baby. At least now you can do it on your iPad

Probably the biggest thing stopping many users from switching to the iPad full time is the lack of Microsoft Office on the tablet. It might be a bloated, slow, convoluted mess that makes you want to toss your computer out the window whenever you use it, but Office–and particularly Word– are pretty much mandatory for many jobs.

Enter CloudOn, a combination of app and web service, which lets you create and edit Office documents using your iPad. It works by running Office-compatible software on the CloudOn servers, meaning you need to be online to use it. But as the server-session uses a native app as a front-end, you open mail attachments, say, with the usual “Open with” service.

By SuperUser Account on 12/12/2011 8:28 AM

By Vito Pilieci, Postmedia News

OTTAWA - Microsoft Corp. rolled out the new dashboard for its Xbox 360 console on Wednesday, bringing mainstream television programming to millions of Canadian Xbox owners.

 
Click to Enlarge
Getty Images
The Microsoft logo is seen at the XBOX 360 booth during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, Calif. Microsoft Corp. has just rolled out the new dashboard for its Xbox 360 console.

The company, which has partnered with cable providers in other countries, announced Monday that the Rogers On Demand service, LeafsTV and DisneyXD will all be offering TV content to viewers through the Xbox 360 gaming console.

The initiative is another push by Microsoft to make the Xbox gaming console the heart of entertainment systems. The console has allowed users to play video games and DVDs since it was initially released in 2005.

It was updated early on to allow users to play music and movies stored on a nearby computer. In more recent years, Microsoft has added Facebook connectivity, Netflix and Internet radio to be streamed over the device. The announcement marks the first time the console has streamed TV shows from major networks and providers into the living rooms of Canadian consumers.

"It's been a passion in terms of how we've been evolving the Xbox platform," said Glenn Purkis, Microsoft Canada Xbox Live manager.

 

By SuperUser Account on 8/22/2011 1:32 PM

 

BY AUSTIN CARR
 

The reaction to Skype's proposed acquisition of the New York City-based group messaging service GroupMe for $85 million has been nearly universal: Good for Skype. It's the latest in a string of high-profile gambits in the world of social grouping technology. Google+ has made Circles central to its social efforts. Apple has announced plans to launch its own group service, iMessage. And Mark Zuckerberg, whose company recently acquired the group messaging service Belugahas called grouping friends "the biggest problem in social networking."

In all that excitement it's easy to overlook the fact that Skype is also in the process of being acquired by Microsoft for $8.5 billion. That means any decision Skype makes should be viewed as a decision Microsoft would make as well. And Microsoft was well aware of Skype's acquisition of GroupMe, Sandhya Venkatachalam, Skype's head of corporate development, tells Fast Company. There was visibility at all levels of Microsoft including CEO Steve Ballmer. "This is something that's very important for Skype and for our mobile and overall social strategy," says Venkatachalam. "Of course, if and when the acquisition with Microsoft closes, we want to bring this functionality and this strategy to Microsoft and their mobile offerings." 

Which means you can expect GroupMe to play a prominent role in Microsoft's social efforts as well. 

When I recently spoke to Skype product VP Neil Stevens, he spoke at length about how Skype would become central to Microsoft's mobile efforts. He described how Skype will add deep integration with Windows Phone, at a greater level than with any other mobile OS, and how it will become a unifying force between various Microsoft products such as Windows, Windows Mobile, and Xbox.

 
 
By SuperUser Account on 7/26/2011 4:27 PM

Informational event shares how to use InsiteCommerce and its SDK to develop and deliver scalable, high-performing .NET B2B ecommerce sites

Minneapolis, MN., July 26, 2011Insite Software, a leading provider of B2B and B2C ecommerce platforms and shipping solutions, today announced it is hosting a one-hour informational webinar for the .NET developer community on its Windows Azure-certified ecommerce platform, InsiteCommerce, and the InsiteCommerce Software Development Kit (SDK). The event will take place on Thursday, July 28, 2011, at 12:00PM Eastern.

“InsiteCommerce is the fastest growing enterprise B2B ecommerce platform for .NET developers and the only B2B ecommerce platform certified for Windows Azure,” said Brian Strojny, CEO of Insite Software. “Our SharePoint-friendly platform gives .NET developers the power of the easy-to-use InsiteCommerce SDK to rapidly develop and deliver scalable, high-performing B2B ecommerce projects. We are expanding our partnerships in the .NET development community to help firms confidently deliver a B2B enterprise ecommerce solution to their clients. InsiteCommerce addresses a growing business need that is not being met by today’s available solutions.”

During this webinar, attendees will:

By SuperUser Account on 7/25/2011 8:49 AM
Published 13:10, 25 July 11

One of the unusual characteristics of the computer industry in recent years is the rapid rise of companies to almost complete market dominance of their respective sectors.

Things began with Microsoft, whose Windows operating system is still unchallenged on the desktop. Then came Google, which more or less owns the online search world (with the notable exception of the important Chinese market), and after that Facebook, which is probably hurtling towards 800 million users at the moment. What this means is that it is almost impossible for other companies to enter those particular markets and compete against the incumbent.

It's not hard to see why this has happened. It's all about network effects: once a particular player becomes established in a new market, it attracts more users than anyone else, ensuring that it grows yet bigger and more dominant. This kind of stranglehold is typically only broken once a step change in technology occurs that allows the story to begin all over again (the transition from MS-DOS to Windows was one such.)

Although there are many big and successful computer companies around at the moment, one stands out. Apple is currently going from strength to strength, as its recent figures show:

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2011 third quarter ended June 25, 2011. The Company posted record quarterly revenue of $28.57 billion and record quarterly net profit of $7.31 billion, or $7.79 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $15.70 billion and net quarterly profit of $3.25 billion, or $3.51 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 41.7 percent compared to 39.1 percent in the year-ago quarter.

Much of that was down to Apple's success in two emerging markets:

The Company sold 20.34 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 142 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 9.25 million iPads during the quarter, a 183 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter.

 

By SuperUser Account on 7/12/2011 11:58 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Greenville, SC – July 12, 2011 – AssetPoint, a leading provider of (EAM) Enterprise Asset Management and (CMMS) Computerized Maintenance Management Software solutions, announced it has successfully renewed its Gold Level Competency with Microsoft.

AssetPoint (www.AssetPoint.com) has been a leader in CMMS/EAM solutions for over 30 years, and its TabWare CMMS/EAM solution is designed by maintenance professionals for maintenance professionals. TabWare is easy to learn, easy to use, and easy to own, so companies are able to get up and running in days not months. AssetPoint offers flexible deployment options, including acloud computing solution (SaaS) or on-site for companies who want TabWare on their own servers. TabWare is the leading EAM solution for companies who want full functionality without the expense, resources and time other solutions demand. TabWare is proven to maximize asset performance, resulting in reduced operating costs and higher profit margins.

By SuperUser Account on 7/1/2011 7:41 PM

By Aviv Siegel, AtHoc, Inc.

Campuses, government agencies, military and enterprises are facing increased threats from terror, accidents and weather. Legacy fire systems are inadequate and incapable of handling the wide-spectrum of threats. The advent of new communication technologies enabled by Internet Protocol (IP) infrastructure presents excellent opportunity to address the challenge.

Protecting, informing and accounting for people quickly and effectively during emergencies is the problem addressed by AtHoc Emergency Mass Notification System (EMNS).  AtHoc IWSAlerts™ network-centric mass notification currently represents the state-of-the-art in emergency alerting technology. It leverages the ubiquitous IP network and transforms an organization’s existing IP network and its connected devices into a rapid and pervasive emergency notification system. A net-centric unified notification system can reach people through multiple redundant channels in minutes—with detailed information for a safe course of action. Additionally, emergency managers can provide detailed instructions for action to all personnel and receive feedback to ensure a safe response--a capability absent on traditional passive alerting systems.

 

By SuperUser Account on 7/1/2011 7:34 PM

 

Microsoft-centric solution provides .NET developers with advanced cloud computing solution and SDK for more profitable and rapid ecommerce deployments

 

Minneapolis, MN., June 29, 2011Insite Software, a leading provider of B2B and B2C ecommerce platforms and shipping solutions, today announced that Microsoft Corporation has certified InsiteCommerce as one of the first enterprise B2B ecommerce platform powered by Windows Azure for cloud computing. The latest version of InsiteCommerce provides the Microsoft .NET development community and design agencies with advanced cloud deployment and an easy-to-use SDK allowing firms to rapidly develop and deliver scalable, high performing, B2B ecommerce projects for their manufacturing, distribution and retail clients.

 “.NET developers have been looking for a reliable, scalable, ecommerce platform that delivers the B2B capabilities in the cloud, as Microsoft Commerce Server does not currently support the Windows Azure platform,” said Brian Strojny, CEO of Insite Software. “InsiteCommerce is designed for cloud computing and leverages the benefits of Windows Azure to help developers provide faster, scalable and more profitable B2B ecommerce deployments. We are pleased to be one of the first enterprise B2B ecommerce platforms certified by Microsoft and look forward to working more closely with the .NET development community.”

 

By SuperUser Account on 6/7/2011 11:55 AM

Apple's iCloud promises to sync every document and every edit across multiple devices but Apple's idea of every document is every iWork document. If iCloud doesn't play nice with Microsoft Office, it doesn't stand a chance to replace other syncing and file-sharing software, like Dropbox, Box.net and Microsoft's own Windows Live SkyDrive.

Apple's decision to build its iCloud Storage APIs around iWork -- Keynote, Pages and Numbers -- makes a lot of sense. The company has been fortifying its product and lifestyle ecosystem for a long time and iCloud is another incentive to streamline your productivity by purchasing Apple products. But Microsoft Office isn't going anywhere; Forrester Research stated that as of 2009, 80 percent of the enterprise is using some form of Microsoft Office, with 64 percent using Office 2007.

iCloud's Syncing Limitations May Keep Service BackImage courtesy of Macworld.

 

By SuperUser Account on 6/7/2011 11:52 AM

 

Microsoft and Facebook are throwing their weight behind the proposed AT&T and T-Mobile merger that would consolidate the wireless industry.

"The FCC must seriously weigh the benefits of this merger and approve it," the companies wrote in a Monday letter to the Federal Communications Commission. Several other companies signed on to the letter, including phone technology company Avaya, software and server company Oracle, Blackberry maker Research in Motion, mobile chip maker Qualcomm and Brocade.

Microsoft provided a copy of the letter. Missing in action on the letter: Google and Apple. Out of all the big technology companies, Apple has the most intimate working relationship with AT&T because the iPhone was for a long time exclusive to the AT&T. Google's Android software is the fastest growing mobile platform with 100 million users.

 

By SuperUser Account on 5/23/2011 1:33 PM

Remarks by Steve Ballmer, Chief Executive Officer
Tokyo, Japan
May 23, 2011

 

STEVE BALLMER: Well, thank you very much. It's very much a privilege to have a chance to join many of Japan's most thoughtful leaders from business, from government, from academia, and from the media.

I want to thank Nikkei Newspaper for inviting me here today, and to have the opportunity to discuss the role of technology in Japan's reconstruction.

I'll begin by expressing my deep sympathy to the people of Japan who were affected by the earthquake and the tsunami in March. The scale of what happened here, the extent of the devastation is truly beyond words. I think it is inspiring to hear how Japan has united in these very difficult times to move forward.

Certainly on behalf of Microsoft, I want you to know what while you were standing strong together, you do not stand alone. Our company is fully committed to assisting Japan in any way we can, and to the companies and individuals in this room, as the recovery efforts move forward in this long term process of rebuilding.

We see Japan as an important and longstanding friend and a vibrant part of the world's marketplace. Microsoft has been in business here for 25 years, and we have today more than 2,500 employees in Japan.

Nihon Microsoft was our first country subsidiary outside the United States, and today, it is our largest, other than the United States.

We also have more than 8,000 companies, individual companies who are business partners of Microsoft's here in Japan, spanning every field of technology, communications, entertainment, and more.

And while it's certainly been painful to see the impact of the earthquake on our customers and our colleagues and our friends, we are hopeful about what we can do together to support Japan's forward progress.

Microsoft's commitment to Japan in the wake of the earthquake has included both financial and technical support. Initially, we provided a small $2 million donation to the relief efforts in both cash and in-kind contributions, and we are matching every dollar that our employees not only here in Japan but around the world are donating to the Japanese relief efforts.

We also offer free technical support and free temporary software licenses to an array of the customers and partners and organizations that have been involved in the response and relief efforts.

By SuperUser Account on 5/19/2011 11:12 AM

Well-respected SMB Nation community announces 6th Annual Spring Conference

Hosted in Toronto, June 10-11, 2011 at International Centre

With a “Pivot to the Cloud” mantra, SMB Nation, the well-respected technology channel community, has awarded its 6th annual Spring conference to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It’s part of SMB Nation’s on-going worldwide SMB channel partner outreach to engage and extend the success of its tribal membership. “We are thrilled to freshen our Spring conference with impactful content that is first cloud focused while honoring traditional SMB IT topics.” Shared Harry Brelsford, CEO of Seattle-based SMB Nation. “We have brought in the best and brightest technical and business minds for an amazing two-day professional conference. We have speakers delivering unique content on Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, Office 365, cloud and hybrid computing, managed services provider (MSP) business models and important ‘BusinessSpeak’ topics such as increasing technology sales.”  

Speakers were selected in a competitive process where an authoritative content selection committee vetted a large number of papers to select the more relevant content. This resulted in Microsoft MVPs, published authors, accomplished CEOs and surprisingly successful MSPs speaking from the stage. The conference is well supported by enthusiastic sponsor community including D&H Distributing, Microsoft, Intel, AppAssure, Cisco and many other familiar names. 

“First and foremost, we are community. We’re from the community producing a community event supported by the community and attended by community members. How cool is that?” Brelsford exclaimed. “Beyond the amazing SMB Nation staff and tribal membership, we have enjoyed fantastic support from like-minded similar communities including the MVPs, user groups, trade associations and other affinity entities. And most importantly, we really recognize and realize the warm welcome we’ve already received and Toronto and hope that our efforts satisfy the hunger of the Canadian SMB technology community!”

By SuperUser Account on 5/16/2011 3:06 PM
New social features in Bing let users make decisions with help from their Facebook friends.
 

REDMOND, Wash. — May 16, 2011 — Bing is adding 500 million new friends, and they’re all going to help the search experience become a lot more social.

Microsoft today announced new features in Bing that bring together Facebook and search to offer users personalized results based on the opinions of their friends. The new social features, which are available today, surface the stories, content and sites that their Facebook friends “like” right on the results page.

Today, Bing is bringing the collective IQ of the Web together with the opinions of the people you trust most, to bring the “Friend Effect” to search. Starting today, you can receive personalized search results based on the opinions of your friends by simply signing into Facebook.
 

By marrying fact-based search results with the opinions of trusted friends, Bing aims to help people make better decisions, said Sean Suchter, general manager of Microsoft’s Search Technology Center in Silicon Valley.

“We partnered with Facebook to basically allow Bing users to bring their friends to search with them,” he said. “That means they’ll be able to make decisions not just with facts but with the opinions of their friends. With almost any task on Bing, if your friends can help you out we’ll bring them right there with you.”

By SuperUser Account on 5/16/2011 9:28 AM

 

Avatar Kinect, the facial recognition technology coming to Kinect for Xbox 360 this spring, started out in the lab and soon will end up in the living room. Avatar Kinect’s journey from prototype to product shows how ideas move from research to product at Microsoft.
 

REDMOND, Wash., – May 16, 2011 – When you smile, your Xbox 360 avatar will smile with you.

Just a few months after Kinect turned heads with its controller-free technology comes Avatar Kinect, a new Xbox LIVE social experience that uses the sensor’s precise facial-recognition capabilities to project your face and your expressions into a virtual word.

Avatar Kinect will enable you to hang out with up to seven friends in creative themed environments, from talk-show sets to a tailgate party, projecting your facial expressions and voice.
 

When it rolls out later this spring, “Avatar Kinect will let you hang out and socialize with seven of your friends in a simulated environment,” said Umaimah Mendhro, a senior product manager for Microsoft Startup Business Group. “The gathering spots will range from the set of a late-night talk show to a tailgate party to a magical forest.”

By SuperUser Account on 5/9/2011 1:49 PM

by Ravi Mandalia

 

Words have hit the streets that Microsoft is also likely to join the bidding war for acquiring the VoIP service provider Skype.

If these rumours are to be believed, Microsoft has joined the likes of Google and Facebook as the potential new owner of the widely popular voice and video chat service provider from Luxembourg. 

Earlier, Om Malik of the website Gigaom also claimed with inputs taken from unnamed sources that Microsoft is also interested in "either partnering with, acquiring or investing" in Skype.

Apparently, Skype bosses are not willing to disclose any thing in this regard, at least not at the moment. 

 

By SuperUser Account on 5/5/2011 11:30 AM
Microsoft employee Larry Venter, a native South African, had a hunch that Kinect for Xbox 360 could help the children at a rural school in his hometown get excited about learning English and that gaming could help in the fight against widespread illiteracy.
 

REDMOND, Wash. – May 5, 2011 – A story that began with a mischievous Icelandic volcano has ended happily with South African schoolchildren using Kinect for Xbox 360 to learn English.

The Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull was causing chaos a year ago when its ash cloud stranded travelers all over Europe and beyond, including employee Larry Venter, who was vacationing in his native South Africa.

Watch a video about an innovative new use for Kinect—using the controller-free gaming device for Xbox 360 in the classroom to engage young learners. Children at Lakeside Park Primary school in South Africa are using Kinect to help learn English.
 

"It turned out not to be a tragedy," said Venter, a senior director for Microsoft Retail Solutions. Venter's friend Yunus Kirsten used the extra time to take Venter on an unplanned tour of an area primary school that he leads.

Venter had mixed feelings about what he saw at the school in Vryheid, a small town in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. There, children are taught English and their local language, Zulu, until the fourth grade, after which they are taught solely in English. Most children at the school—called Lakeside Park Primary school—are poor and have few English-learning resources at home. As a result, literacy acquisition is a real challenge. The language the children spoke when they played (the language spoken during play is a main indicator of how effective language learning is) was not English, but Zulu.

Lessons and languages are more likely to sink in for young learners (like this one at Lakeside Park Primary school in South Africa) when the children are engaged and having fun, said Larry Venter, a senior director for Microsoft Retail Solutions.
Lessons and languages are more likely to sink in for young learners (like this one at Lakeside Park Primary school in South Africa) when the children are engaged and having fun, said Larry Venter, a senior director for Microsoft Retail Solutions.
Click for larger image. 

"They have no one at home to help them with their homework or to help teach them English," Venter said. "Only 53 percent of children who start schooling in South Africa will finish it, and most of that is a result of poor education in the foundation phase."

At the same time, Venter saw that Kirsten, the headmaster of Lakeside Park Primary school, and the teachers were relentlessly trying to find ways to help the children learn.

 

By SuperUser Account on 5/5/2011 11:11 AM
Q&A: Ron Markezich talks about his vision for transforming the U.S. sales force toward selling cloud services.
 

REDMOND, Wash. – May 5, 2011 – After several years as Microsoft’s chief information officer and corporate vice president of Microsoft Online, Ron Markezich was recently appointed corporate vice president of Microsoft’s U.S. Enterprise and Partner Group, where he will bring his expertise to the company’s enterprise sales and marketing efforts. The Microsoft News Center caught up with Markezich in late April to get the scoop on his vision for Microsoft’s strategy for courting CIOs and pitching the company’s cloud computing strategy. Here’s what we learned:

Ron Markezich, corporate vice president, U.S. Enterprise and Partner Group at Microsoft.
Ron Markezich, corporate vice president, U.S. Enterprise and Partner Group at Microsoft.
Click for high-res version. 

On what his priorities will be in the first weeks and months of his new role as head of the U.S. Enterprise and Partner Group: “The first priority will always be to continue to grow the Microsoft business. Today, there are so many ways customers can take advantage of Microsoft technology, and we want to grow our customers’ success. Second, we have a set of great partners and independent software vendors (ISVs) making the cloud transition with us. There will be a need for a large amount of coordination. The key factor with partners and ISVs is to make sure we have a strong rhythm in terms of sharing information to make sure we’re in alignment.”

On how selling cloud computing applications and services is different from selling on-premises enterprise software installations: “One, you have to have a deeper relationship with enterprise customers. Two, we’re not just selling a product. We own that process from the implementation all the way through the run. Our support never ends, post-sale. Also, there are regulatory aspects to selling cloud services such as security and privacy that are not typically covered when selling enterprise software.”

On whether Microsoft’s sales force is ready to sell the cloud: “Absolutely, we’re ready to sell the cloud. We’ve been selling our services to the largest customers in the world – McDonalds, Coca Cola – for many years. Many have already moved to Office 365. I’m coming into an organization that’s extremely healthy. Employee satisfaction is increasing and one of the highest I’ve seen at this company. We continue to beat our numbers. Customer satisfaction results are great. When you have great employee and customer satisfaction while bringing in record revenue - I feel great about what I’m taking over.”

By SuperUser Account on 5/4/2011 10:03 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Microsoft Dynamics Integrated (EAM) Enterprise Asset Management / (CMMS)
Computerized Maintenance Management System Solutions for Manufacturers
 
Greenville, SC – May 4, 2011 – AssetPoint (www.AssetPoint.com), a leading provider of EAM and
CMMS solutions and a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, now offers its best-in-class TabWare Express
CMMS/EAM software solution integrated with Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains, SL, and AX.
 
AssetPoint has been a leader in CMMS/EAM solutions for over 30 years, and its TabWare Express
CMMS/EAM solution is designed by maintenance professionals for maintenance professionals so it’s
easy to learn, easy to use, and easy to own. By deploying a best-in-class EAM solution with
seamless, lower cost integration, companies can streamline their maintenance operations to maximize
asset performance and control maintenance costs. AssetPoint offers flexible deployment options,
including a Cloud Computing solution (SaaS) starting at $40/month/user that enables our customers to go
live in days and reduces IT costs.
 
By SuperUser Account on 4/21/2011 9:41 AM

   

Business people worldwide are realizing that they do not need to pay a premium for a world-class CRM solution – and you shouldn’t either. Today, you can get a great solution that meets your specific business needs – and save a tremendous amount of money in the process.

Until May 28, 2011, Microsoft will send qualified organizations $200 for each Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Subscription license. Buy 30 seats, get $6,000. Buy 100 seats, get $20,000.3

This money could be used any way you like. For example, the money can be used to accelerate your implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. Whatever the case, Microsoft will send you money to help you get started fast.

 

By SuperUser Account on 4/18/2011 8:40 AM
Using Office 365, small businesses can be up and running with Office, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online in just 15 minutes.
 

REDMOND, Wash. — April 17, 2011 — David Kroenke has authored more than 15 undergraduate business technology textbooks over the past few decades, with titles including “Database Concepts” and, most recently, “Using MIS.” As a small-business owner working with a handful of co-writers, editors, designers and contractors, Kroenke often collaborated via telephone, email and file-sharing — and mailed printed copies of book drafts to his team for review. However, once he became a beta tester for Microsoft Office 365, it changed the way his business works.

Office 365 simplifies and integrates everyday work tasks.
Office 365 simplifies and integrates everyday work tasks.
Click for larger image. 

“I work out of two offices, and Office 365 saves me the hassle of tracking book files between so many different places,” said Kroenke. “I don’t have to wonder where I put everything, because it’s always available to me, no matter where I am.”

As soon as he heard about Office 365, Kroenke signed up for the limited beta program.

Office 365 Availability
 
Office 365 is on track to launch worldwide later this year. Today, people can secure a spot in the Office 365 public beta and learn more about the service athttp://www.Office365.com, and follow Office 365 on Twitter (@Office365), Facebook (Office 365), and the Office 365 blog for the latest information.
Customers can find information at the Office 365 Marketplace, and partners can submit new apps and solutions.

“Office 365 has opened up a whole new world of productivity for me — I feel like a kid in a candy shop,” said Kroenke.

“After using it for just a few weeks, Office 365 simplified my business, giving me more time to focus on the work that’s most important. We can brainstorm in real time, organize, and streamline the book-editing process. Office 365 gives small-business owners like me many of the tools we never had before.

“With just one click, I can show my co-worker a document I’m working on and make suggested changes while in a videoconference; we can even use a virtual whiteboard. My co-worker might be in Ohio, while I’m in Seattle, but we’re drawing on the same whiteboard, just like we’re sitting in the same room. That is just really, really cool,” said Kroenke.

Ready for Work, Whenever You Are

Small businesses around the world can now enjoy the benefits Kroenke described. Microsoft today announced the public beta of Microsoft Office 365, the company’s next-generation cloud productivity service for businesses of all sizes. Office 365 was recently introduced in limited beta, bringing together Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service. The public beta allows millions of people in more countries and more languages — a total of 38 markets and 17 languages in all — to try Office 365 for the first time.

By SuperUser Account on 4/11/2011 2:49 PM

Remarks by Steve Ballmer, Chief Executive Officer, and Kirill Tatarinov, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Solutions
Atlanta, Ga.
April 11, 2011

 

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome corporate vice president, Microsoft Business Solutions, Kirill Tatarinov. (Cheers, applause.)

KIRILL TATARINOV: Well, good morning, everybody. It is my great pleasure to welcome you to Atlanta, to Convergence 2011. This is our 15th Convergence and my fourth in my role as the leader of Microsoft Dynamics.

Steve Ballmer and Kirill Tatarinov share vision for future of Microsoft Dynamics at Convergence 2011 on April 11, 2011 in Atlanta, Ga.
 

We have over 9,300 people here today. So, this is the second largest Convergence. So, we're just a few folks short of being the biggest ever.

We represent here 20 different industries, coming from 36 different countries. Some people have to travel very near, coming from Atlanta. Over 500 people are Atlanta locals. Thank you for hosting us. And over 36 people from 16 companies came from as far as New Zealand. Thank you for taking the trip.

Whether it's near or far, welcome to Convergence. We have an amazing show for you this week, and we're very excited you are here with us.

This week, we're celebrating a pretty substantial milestone for all of us who are involved with Microsoft Dynamics, the 10-year anniversary of Microsoft being the vendor delivering business applications to our business customers.

Ten years ago this month, we entered this business by acquiring Great Plains, and it's an amazing road, and it's an amazing journey that we've been on together with you.

Ten years ago, we had less than 30,000 customers working on Microsoft Dynamics GP. Today, we have over 350,000 customers, and 5 million users logging into Dynamics every morning. (Cheers, applause.)

Many of our customers are truly Dynamics customers for life, and here in the room over a thousand people have been working with Dynamics for over 10 years.

And at the show, at Convergence, we love telling the stories of our customers. We love telling the stories of how the products are used and how products make the businesses run and be more successful.

By SuperUser Account on 4/11/2011 9:36 AM
Microsoft Dynamics customers gather at Convergence 2011 to hear how they win today and in the future.
 
 

ATLANTA — April 11, 2011 — Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq “MSFT”) CEO Steve Ballmer and Kirill Tatarinov, corporate vice president for Microsoft Business Solutions, today opened a sold-out Convergence 2011 to more than 9,000 attendees, demonstrating how companies can use Microsoft Dynamics to maximize the value of their existing technology investments, remain agile as market conditions change and ultimately become dynamic businesses that can win in any environment.

At Convergence 2011, Microsoft’s premier event for decision-makers using enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM), the company shared its vision to take Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions to the cloud. It also gave customers a first look at the newMicrosoft Dynamics AX 2012 release and shared the strong momentum experienced by its portfolio of Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM solutions.

Unveiling Vision for Cloud ERP

Building on the success of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, the company revealed a path for its ERP customers to move to the cloud with the next major releases of Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions, which will run on the Windows Azure platform. Customers will be able to move to the cloud on their own terms. The Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions will bring the same benefits in the cloud as they do on-premises.

Understanding that to deliver the benefits of the cloud to customers requires more than just technology, the company reiterated its commitment to help partners benefit from Microsoft Dynamics cloud offerings and released a Microsoft Dynamics Cloud Partner Profitability Guide. This guide provides key success factors and an execution road map, to help partners optimize their business processes and identify new opportunities.

“We see the cloud as a turning point in the market that provides the opportunity to create a new business model geared toward increasing the profitability and agility of our company,” said David Goad, managing director, eSavvy Pty Ltd. “The Microsoft Dynamics Cloud Partner Profitability Guide really helped us to solidify that opinion. It offers clear guidance on how to benefit from this shift and serves as a great starting point for all partners looking to build a strong, cloud-based business.”

In addition to resources such as the profitability guide, independent software vendors (ISVs) and partners will also be able to showcase Microsoft Dynamics cloud-enabled vertical solutions, add-ons and services on the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace. This makes it simple for customers to try and buy solutions that fit their specific business needs and gives partners an opportunity to reach a broader audience and grow their business.

Microsoft Introduces Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Also at Convergence 2011, customers get a first look at Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, an innovative new ERP solution that empowers people to anticipate and embrace change, with agility made possible by a unified business process repository, model-driven architecture, and simplicity that comes from a familiar user experience and built-in collaboration tools.

“Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 frees customers from the electronic concrete that has plagued the ERP industry for so long,” Tatarinov said. “Customers want flexible yet cost- effective business applications that work the way they do instead of being forced to adapt to the software.”

By SuperUser Account on 4/4/2011 1:48 PM

For all of the developers out there, there's now a cool way to check Windows Azure from Microsoft, and have a little bit of fun, thru their new Rock Paper Azure Challenge.

Windows Azure, a cornerstone of the Microsoft Cloud Offering, is used to create player bots, which compete against other bots weekly for six weeks.  Weekly prizes for winners include Xbox 360's, Kinects, and gift cards.  Weekly stats are provided thru the site, along with links to tips, tools, and weekly training webcasts.

 

 

By SuperUser Account on 4/4/2011 9:30 AM
 
Every day more than half a million people visit Microsoft Answers to get their burning Microsoft product questions answered. The company’s recently refreshed question-and-answer forum brings together consumers, experts and technical enthusiasts into a single online community.
 

REDMOND, Wash. – April 4, 2011 – Ever since he retired in 2005, Ronnie Vernon’s time has been his own. The former heavy equipment instructor gets to spend his days doing exactly what he likes to do. So each morning he fires up his computer, heads to the Microsoft Answers site, and settles in for a long day answering questions about Windows.

Roughly half a million visitors go to the Microsoft Answers site each day to ask and answer questions about Microsoft consumer products.
Roughly half a million visitors go to the Microsoft Answers site each day to ask and answer questions about Microsoft consumer products.
Click for larger image. 

Vernon can’t quite explain why he spends up to 12 hours a day offering strangers tech support. “Over the years I’ve tried to figure out why people do what they do with volunteering, but I never came up with a good explanation,” said Vernon, a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) community leader recognized by Microsoft for actively sharing his real world technical expertise with consumers. “Basically, you have some knowledge, you see some people who have problems, and you just like to help.”

That’s exactly the spirit Microsoft is trying to nurture with Microsoft Answers, a question-and-answer forum that brings together consumers, Microsoft support engineers and technical enthusiasts from around the world, said Barbara Winter, senior program manager for Microsoft Answers.

“We see Microsoft Answers as less of a support site and more of a community supported by users and experts, only some of whom happen to work at Microsoft,” she said. “We're really trying to connect peers and enthusiasts and experts in a way that encourages users to own their experience and see each other as resources.”

By SuperUser Account on 3/24/2011 1:40 PM
Launched this month, Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 is helping schools from Iowa to Africa deliver more computing to students at a lower cost. It works – and saves schools money – by letting as many as 20 students simultaneously “share” a single computer.
 

REDMOND, Wash. – March 24, 2011 – Like schools everywhere, Iowa’s Tri-Center Community Schools District wants to give its students the best education possible. And like most, it’s trying to make sure it provides students with the opportunity to use technology to learn while also coping with a shrinking budget.

Windows MultiPoint Server is used in computer labs at schools in Haiti that Microsoft and the Clinton Global Initiative have been building as part of the ongoing rebuilding efforts after last year’s devastating earthquake.
Windows MultiPoint Server is used in computer labs at schools in Haiti that Microsoft and the Clinton Global Initiative have been building as part of the ongoing rebuilding efforts after last year’s devastating earthquake.
Click for larger image. 

“A challenge that Tri-Center and other public schools in Iowa and I’m sure around the nation face is funding,” said Angela Huseman, Tri-Center’s high school principal. “There’s not always enough money, and you only get so much. And that’s the hard part for me to figure out: Well, if I’ve got this much money, where’s the biggest bang for my buck?”

For Huseman, the answer to that, at least in part, was a piece of Microsoft software that lets up to 20 students share one PC at the same time – each with their own keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

For months Tri-Center has been using a new tool from Microsoft that aims to deliver schools the most bang for their IT buck:Windows MultiPoint Server 2011. Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 (WMS 2011) – which went on sale earlier this month – lets multiple users simultaneously tap into the power of a single PC. The result is more computing at a lower cost, helping schools worldwide better prepare students for an increasingly competitive global economy.

“Access to technology provides students with a better platform for learning, but the realities of tighter school budgets make this difficult. Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 is a great solution to this challenge,” said Anthony Salcito, vice president of worldwide education at Microsoft.

 

By SuperUser Account on 3/24/2011 1:36 PM
Leading analyst firm points to opportunities for Microsoft partners both in cloud computing and with current Microsoft products.
 

REDMOND, Wash. — March 24, 2011 — Today, global research firm IDC issued a new white paper which estimates that members of the worldwide Microsoft ecosystem generated local revenues for themselves of $580 billion in 2010, up from $537 billion in 2009 and $475 billion in 2007. This demonstrates strong revenue growth when total worldwide IT spending increased less than half a percent, and validates the substantial opportunities and benefits available through the Microsoft Partner Network, the program that equips Microsoft partners with training, resources and support they need to successfully compete in today’s marketplace while allowing customers to easily identify the right partner for their technology needs.

 
Click for a larger version 

Through the Microsoft Partner Network https://partner.microsoft.com, partners can extend their market reach for greater opportunities and profitability while delivering innovative solutions to help customers achieve their business goals. The IDC study estimates that for every dollar of revenue made by Microsoft Corp. in 2009, local members of the Microsoft ecosystem generated revenues for themselves of $8.70. In an additional study on Microsoft Core Infrastructure Optimization, IDC found that partners that invested in more difficult or a greater number of Microsoft competencies enjoyed 68 percent larger deals and 28 percent more revenue per employee, compared with partners that invested less.

“The Microsoft Partner Network has allowed us to extend and grow our business by delivering innovative solutions to our customers,” said Tom Chew, national general manager of Slalom Consulting. “Over the past year, we’ve increased revenue 45 percent and built strong momentum with Microsoft technologies around cloud services, business intelligence, portals and collaboration, dynamics, and unified communications. As a Microsoft partner, we’ve been able to differentiate Slalom and grow rapidly in an extremely challenging business landscape.”

“Microsoft and its partners make a significant impact on the global economy,” said Darren Bibby, program vice president for IDC Software Channels and Alliances Research. “Microsoft does an excellent job of providing great products for partners to work with, as well as effective sales, marketing and training resources. And the number of Microsoft partners working together is growing. The result is that the Microsoft ecosystem has achieved impressive results and has a very bright future.”

The Microsoft-commissioned IDC report reveals that the modifications made to the Microsoft Partner Network equip Microsoft partners with the training, resources and support they need to be well-positioned in the competitive IT marketplace, both with the current lineup of Microsoft products and in the cloud. Cloud-based solutions offer Microsoft partners the opportunity to grow by extending their current businesses via cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (private and/or public), software-as-a-service (Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite and/or Office 365), platform-as-a-service (Windows Azure) or a hybrid combined with on-premise solutions. Microsoft’s cloud offerings are based on products customers already use and that partners have already built their businesses around.

By SuperUser Account on 3/21/2011 10:38 AM
Large retailer runs business-critical applications for 1,755 stores on Microsoft virtualization technologies.
 

REDMOND, Wash. — March 21, 2011 — Microsoft Corp. announced today that Target Corp. is running business-critical workloads for all its retail stores on 15,000 virtual machines using Microsoft virtualization and management technologies, giving its IT department greater agility and economies of scale. The second-largest discount retailer in the U.S., Target has virtualized inventory, point-of-sale, supply-chain management, asset protection, in-store digital media and more on Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center.

“Target’s investment in Hyper-V is a result of the strong technology partnership between our two companies,” said Jeff Mader, vice president, Target Technology Services. “With Hyper-V, Target can reduce our stores’ server footprints without sacrificing the mission-critical application performance that contributes to a superior retail experience for our guests.”

Minneapolis, Minn.-based Target Corp. serves guests at 1,755 stores in 49 states and operates 37 national distribution centers. Earlier this year, Target scaled its deployment of Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V to every U.S. store in the chain. Applications, ranging from Microsoft SQL Server 2008 SP1, SharePoint 2007 and Exchange 2007 to third-party, line-of-business software, can now be deployed and managed more quickly, with 8,650 fewer physical servers to maintain, power and refresh. Target has also implemented the Microsoft System Center management platform to manage and patch more than 300,000 endpoints, ranging from servers and PCs to mobile inventory devices and point-of-sale registers. System Center provides the automation, insight and data to help ensure Target guests can quickly find the products they need at the lowest possible cost and check out without delay.

By SuperUser Account on 3/10/2011 10:03 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Greenville, SC – March 7, 2011 – AssetPoint (www.assetpoint.com), a leading Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) solution provider, celebrated the success of one of their customers pursuing the business benefits of procurement best practices utilizing the latest TabWare EAM procurement solution TabSource. 

With the standard functionality of AssetPoint’s cloud computing (SaaS) TabWare EAM solution in use by over 1,000 users, one of the world's largest steel companies launched a strategic initiative last month to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their overall procurement process. AssetPoint and Life Cycle Engineering (www.LCE.com), a leading professional services firm focused on customer-specific solutions for reliability excellence and achieving successful organizational change, partnered  to validate and reinforce the customer’s new procurement strategy by ensuring the right people and technology come together in the context of best business practice in order to achieve and sustain the targeted business benefits.

According to the Aberdeen Group report “The Role of Software in Asset Performance Management,” the growing impact of asset management and procurement processes on organization’s bottom lines as well as on the safety of plant and employees has certainly elevated the importance and the criticality of these functions in the eyes of senior management.  The report also listed the top two goals for asset maintenance: improving uptime and improving asset utilization.

By SuperUser Account on 3/8/2011 9:51 AM

Carlsbad, CA — March 7, 2011 EPM Live, a global leader in Enterprise SharePoint Project and Work Management applications, announced today its launch of WorkEngine’s Enterprise Portfolio Management Capabilities for SharePoint.  Building on its award winning foundation aligned with project and work execution, WorkEngine has extended its core capabilities to include Portfolio Planning, Portfolio Modeling and Portfolio Optimization with an infuses on costs and resources .  WorkEngine supports end-to-end Project and Portfolio Management disciplines through the entire life cycle of your projects as well as non-project work.  

“This launch marks a critical milestone for businesses looking to maximize return on their SharePoint investment by adding a Project and Work Management Solution to their platform.  WorkEngine is now a true end-to-end Enterprise Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) system for SharePoint,” said Joe Larscheid, CEO of EPM Live.   

EPM Live has also released a new application, PPM WorkEngine, to align the new capabilities with the business.  “Apps are the future; our vision is to not only provide a wide variety of applications that will apply our powerful capabilities to various work such as projects, products and services, but we want our customers to have them at their fingertips, at no additional cost,” said Joe.  The WorkEngine product combined with numerous work apps will not only give businesses the tools they need to manage all projects and all work across their organizations, but will do so by accommodating all user maturities and all processes, making the WorkEngine SharePoint platform relevant to any business, simple to deploy and one of the most cost effective systems on the market.  

WorkEngine continues to be on the forefront of market demand.   The industry needs for PPM will continue to change as well.  
Gartner's Analyst Daniel B. Stang wrote in the June 7, 2010 release of Gartner's Magic Quadrant for IT Project and Portfolio Management, “An appropriate PPM application should match some immediate functional needs and also support a successive road map toward improving PPM maturity. PPM applications are aimed at automating elements of good organizational processes. Where no good organizational process exists, these applications can do one of two things: "dictate" what organizations should do, or support what they already do or want to do well.”  The WorkEngine product helps organizations meet their current business needs as well as plan for the future, improving processes and promoting maturity growth.  Dan also stated, “PPM application value is often initially achieved and increased through the definition and tracking of specific key initiatives. With maturity and a few years of use, integration of a PPM application to appropriate data sources, such as IT service management (ITSM), application life cycle management (ALM) and ERP systems, can expand an application's reach and value even further over time.”  The WorkEngine work apps are intended to meet this need now, protecting IT investments such as SharePoint and eliminating the need for additional IT systems such as IT service management and application life cycle management.  

By SuperUser Account on 3/7/2011 9:59 AM
Ericsson, Convergys, MetraTech, Redknee and Tech Mahindra choose Microsoft Dynamics CRM to extend their existing billing and customer care offerings for service providers.
 

REDMOND, Wash. — March 7, 2011 — Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq “MSFT”) today announced its growing ecosystem of independent software vendors (ISV) and systems integrator (SI) partners within the telecommunications industry. Ericsson, Convergys Corp., MetraTech Corp., Redknee Inc. and Tech Mahindra Ltd. have all selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a customer care component of their existing business support systems solutions, helping ensure service provider customers worldwide are able to support the delivery of new services effectively and affordably.

“It is exciting that partners recognize Microsoft Dynamics CRM can help them optimize their business and operational support offerings for telco customers, helping to deliver greater efficiencies and address new market opportunities,” said Brad Wilson, general manager, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Product Management Group. “As telcos look to transform their business, innovations in billing and outstanding customer service can make all the difference. These partnerships are a testament to the familiar, intelligent and connected experiences that Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides and that telco organizations require today.”

ISV and SI partners transitioning to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 are looking forward to passing on breakthrough productivity to telcos. The Microsoft Office user interface helps reduce initial per-call-center-agent training time and costs, delivers access to real-time data, and streamlines processes to boost internal collaboration, resulting in more satisfied customers.

By SuperUser Account on 3/1/2011 10:33 AM

By Anya Ciecierski, PartnerPoint Contributing Writer

That headline may have you confused. We aren't generally bashful in singing the justly-deserved praises of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, yet here we are advising Microsoft Partners against purchasing that very software. Why is that? Because Microsoft Partners can get Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online for free. That’s right. Free!

Microsoft recently revealed the details for an exciting program that makes the life of a Microsoft Partner even sweeter. All Microsoft Gold Certified partners can claim up to 250 seats of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online for free, while Silver Certified partners can claim up to 100 seats. On top of that, further seats can be purchased for the discount rate of $19 per user per month. This offer can't be combined with any other competencies, but who can complain after a freebie like that? Microsoft Cloud Essentials Pack or Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Partners are also in on the deal, getting the same offer as Gold Certified partners: 250 free seats with more following at $19 per user per month.

By SuperUser Account on 2/25/2011 10:26 AM

  

 

Join Us: 4th Annual Microsoft Government Contractor Summit

Powering Business Growth and Transformation in the

Government Contractor Sector

You’ve heard the buzz about business transformation but what does that really mean to you as a Government Contractor?  What do you need to know to respond quickly to the challenges facing the industry? This year’s much anticipated Microsoft Government Contractor Summit continues to build on the tradition of the ‘not-to-be-missed’ industry event by taking Government Contractors to the heart of what business transformation means to their business. The event-filled day features a keynote by the Honorable Tom Davis, panel discussions by some of the leading figures in the government contracting market, and networking opportunities to meet people you need to do business with. Plus, you’ll get a first-hand view of the Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM solutions that are taking the government contracting world by storm.

You will:

- Get an understanding of Microsoft’s strategy, investments and insight on technology trends for government contracting

- Learn best practices from peers who are utilizing technology to optimize their day to day business processes and gain real time insights

- Hear the Honorable Tom Davis speak on trends facing Government Contractors; as a former congressman and noted technology leader, he will share Government Contractor strategies and vision

- Gain insights from well-known Government Contractor CEOs on important hurdles facing the industry and how to overcome them

- Meet with industry leading Microsoft partners who are bringing the best of breed Government Contractor solutions to the market

 

Target Audience: Government Contractor C-Level and Business Executives

Price:  $75 USD NOTE: Space is Limited! This event will sell out. Click here to register.

Agenda *

7:30-9:00a 

Registration, Networking & Exhibits
Visit the showcase of leading-edge technology solutions specifically suited for Government Contractors

9:00-10:00a 

Kickoff and Microsoft Keynote
Greg Myers, General Manager, Civilian and Healthcare, Microsoft Federal who will provide an overview of Microsoft’s strategy, investments and insights on technology trends for government contracting.

10:00-10:30a 

Break & Visit the Technology Exhibits

10:30-11:30a

Federal Government IT Budget & Spending in 2011 & Beyond
Karen Evans, former OMB's Administrator for e-government & IT, will provide insight into the President’s Budget Request and implications of the Continuing Resolution.

11:30a-12:00p 

Break & Visit the Technology Exhibits

12:00-1:00p  

Industry Keynote Luncheon
The Honorable Tom Davis, former congressman from Northern VA, who has been recognized as one of the most knowledgeable congressmen in history on technology topics and the government speaks about the role of Government and IT.

1:00-2:00p  

Government Contractor CEO Panel
Hosted by Federal News Radio Morning Anchorman Tom Temin
Featuring Bob Burleson, CFO, Software Process Technologies Inc.; Tony Jimenez, CEO, MicroTech; David Kriegman, Senior Vice President, Jacobs Engineering; and, Ajay Madan, CEO, OST Global.

2:00-2:15p 

Break & Visit the Technology Exhibits

2:15-3:15p  

Industry Solution Breakouts – Three Concurrent Tracks. Presented by:

- Pleasant Valley Business Solutions

- Unanet | SSI Consulting

- McGladrey

 

*Agenda subject to some change.

 Click here to register.

 

Title Sponsor:

Register now by clicking here!

 

When:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Registration opens at 7:30am

Detailed agenda below.

 

Where:

Fairview Park Marriott

3111 Fairview Park Drive

Falls Church, VA

Free parking onsite

 

Gold Sponsors:

 

 

Exhibitors:

Pleasant Valley Business Solutions

McGladrey

SSI Consulting

Unanet

Broadpoint Technologies

Cole Systems

i3solutions

IPM Global

Goodman & Company

SBS Group

Tech Council of Maryland

 

 

By SuperUser Account on 2/24/2011 3:12 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Cloud Computing EAM Solution Achieves Perfection
 
Greenville, SC – February 24, 2011 – AssetPoint, a leading Enterprise Asset Management
(EAM) solution provider, announced its TabWare Cloud Computing solution achieved 100%
uptime for its customers during the 2010 calendar year.
 
TabWare is the leading EAM solution for companies who want full functionality without the
expense, resources and time other solutions demand. Designed by maintenance professionals for
maintenance professionals, TabWare is proven to maximize asset performance, resulting in
maximum uptime and higher profit margins. The TabWare Cloud Computing solution is hosted
by AssetPoint in an SAS-70 Type II audited environment, and customers access their data
through a secure, password protected internet link. It’s designed to handle all customer locations
from a secure database, giving views of their operation at a site, region, division, country and
enterprise levels.
 
 
By SuperUser Account on 2/24/2011 10:26 AM
Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie gathered with individuals from across the company this week for a day of futuristic demos showcasing natural user interfaces, 3D technologies and new ways to interact with computers. Get a behind-the-scenes look.
 

REDMOND, Wash. – Feb. 24, 2011 – Microsoft provided a glimpse into computing’s future at the Microsoft Home this week, showing demos of 3D and virtual worlds, vision systems that create new models for interacting with computers, and research that explores potential scenarios for Kinect beyond gaming.

Mundie and Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, also announcedplans to make a Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK) available this spring. The non-commercial SDK will be geared to academics and enthusiasts.

See videos of some of the demos in the Rethinking Computing newsroom.

 
 
 
Behind the Demos: Exploring Natural User Interfaces

Image 1 of 11
Avatar Kinect replicates a user’s speech, head movements and facial expressions on their Xbox avatar. Avatar Kinect lets users hang out with friends in virtual environments and shoot animated videos to share online. Redmond, Wash. Feb 21, 2011.

A Look at Avatar Kinect for Xbox

Avatar Kinect replicates a user’s speech, head movements and facial expressions on their Xbox avatar. Avatar Kinect lets users hang out with friends in virtual environments and shoot animated videos to share online. Redmond, Wash. Feb 21, 2011.

Web-Ready

Print-Ready
 
 
A Look at Avatar Kinect for Xbox
Microsoft Surface: Sensing & Interaction
3D Scanning with a Regular Camera
Creating 3D Models from 2D Photos
Mirage Blocks
Photo-Realistic Talking Head
Retro Reflective Air Gesture Display
Conceptual Vision Demo
Remote Organization
Image Manipulation Using Surface
New Interaction with Images Using Surface
 

 

By SuperUser Account on 2/23/2011 1:09 PM
Government agencies, universities and public school systems choose company’s Online Services to increase productivity, save money.
 

REDMOND, Wash. — Feb. 23, 2011 — Today at the Microsoft U.S. Public Sector CIO Summit, Microsoft Corp. announced cloud computing agreements with 16 new government and education customers. In his keynote address, Curt Kolcun, vice president of U.S. Public Sector at Microsoft, welcomed several of the newest users of Microsoft Online Services, including Portland Public Schools, Oregon; University at Albany — SUNY; Fashion Institute of Technology — SUNY; Vanderbilt University; City of Alexandria, Va.; City of Virginia Beach, Va.; and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians tribal government in southern Alabama.

These public sector organizations join a rapidly expanding community of government agencies and schools that have recently implemented Microsoft cloud computing solutions, including the state of California, the state of Minnesota, U.S. Department of Agriculture, California State University campuses at Long Beach, Pomona and San Francisco, the State University of New York (SUNY), New York City Public Schools in partnership with ePals Inc., Kentucky Department of Education, and the University of Georgia. In addition to cost savings and efficiency gains, public sector organizations are choosing Microsoft cloud solutions for their security features, interoperability with existing technology investments and the 24/7 voice support services. Microsoft’s newest government customers join more than 190 state and local government organizations in nearly every U.S. state, bringing the total to more than 3 million government employees utilizing some form of Microsoft Online Services. In addition, Microsoft Live@edu is currently one of the most popular communication and collaboration cloud suites for education, serving more than 15 million people in more than 10,000 education institutions worldwide.

“Public sector organizations are looking for enterprise-grade cloud solutions, and that means providing high levels of security, functionality and support,” Kolcun said. “We’re seeing government and education organizations of every size and dimension using Microsoft cloud solutions to help reduce costs and increase productivity in support of their missions.”

Portland Public Schools Leads the Path in Oregon to the Cloud

Portland Public Schools, the largest school district in the state of Oregon with more than 46,000 students across 85 schools, is planning to move to Microsoft Live@edu as its core collaboration and communications suite for students, teachers and staff to drive improved teaching and learning in the classroom. Portland was looking for a new e-mail solution as its current on-premises Novell GroupWise system was coming to end of life, and it wanted to provide new services to students. After a thorough analysis of both Live@edu and Google Apps for Education, Portland chose Live@edu because of Microsoft’s training and support structure, security, and interoperability advantages.

By SuperUser Account on 2/22/2011 4:57 PM

 By Ingrid Lunden

Updated: Several sources (look here and here) are now reporting that Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) is not facing any delays with production of the iPad 2. The device will be launched at an event in San Francisco on March 2. The news caps days of intense speculation over the device, as Verizon on Thursday gears up to launch the Motorola (NYSE: MOT) Xoom tablet, seen as the first Android device that will really provide viable competition against the iPad. Original post follows below.

Tablets were nearly as much of a story at Mobile World Congress as handsets were—a huge leap considering how small market share is today, and how relatively new they are on the market. This week there are even more reports and speculation about what will be in the next devices from Apple, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Android and Microsoft, and when we might really get to see these things on the market.

iPad 2: Sightings and hints of Apple’s next-generation iPad have been cropping up herethere and everywhere, and everyone now seems to take as fact the thinner design, dual cameras, and better speakers and processors.

But when will we see them? Here’s one indirect clue: stock of the current crop of devices is, apparently, running out. 9to5 Mac is taking this as a sign that a new iPad could be coming as soon as next month. In Europe, it notes, reseller Carphone Warehouse has run out of its 64 GB WiFi model, and all 3G models; while T-Mobile and Orange have reduced the price on their 16 GB 3G/WiFi devices by half, to £99.99, for those buying them on two-year 3G contracts.

I’m inclined to be a bit cynical: these could be real shortages of finished lines (CPW) and a drive to shift stock before new devices arrive (the operators). But it could also be down to actual supply and production issues; two operators keen to drive sales after a lacklustre start to their subsidised iPad push. (Plenty of reports of slow sales for Orange around the holidays, but the operator has never confirmed directly.)

We’ll only know for sure next month. In the meantime, real fans can already start picking out their favorite color of case (pictured), or wait until June, if the report from Bloomberg—the device has now been delayed until June because of production delays at manufacturer Foxconn—sounds more credible.

Motorola Xoom: Meanwhile, we now have the latest teaser ad for the Xoom, a 15-second clip (embedded below) that embodies the Xoom sales slogan—“grab it and it grabs you”—and continues the sci-fi, brave new world theme introduced in the Xoom ad effort for the Super Bowl.

By SuperUser Account on 2/22/2011 3:45 PM
By Carin Moonin, PartnerPoint Contributing Writer
 
There is no doubt that a well-tended garden is beautiful. The flowers, shrubs, trees, grass—all come together to provide a peaceful, serene, and enjoyable setting. In a garden like this, it’s evident that while all the elements are lovely, it’s the collective effect that’s breathtaking. 
 
Believe it or not, going green can be just as charming—even at the office. 
 
With all the recent growth in green technology, with consumers opting for environmentally conscious choices, it’s interesting to remember how offices looked and dealt with document management. Back in the days before Windows revolutionized the workplace, file cabinets were crammed with both unimportant memos and highly sensitive documents. But with Windows, we’ve gone from carbon paper to Word documents, from mailboxes to email, from memos to instant messages.
 
And yet there’s still much to be done to help businesses go greener. 
 
 
By SuperUser Account on 2/17/2011 7:33 PM

For those of you Microsoft Partners with questions or concerns about the new Microsoft Partner Program, here is a great opportunity.  Eric Ligman has just announced thru his blog that Microsoft is hosting an interactive forum in which we can participate.  The team that will be presenting is impressive, and there is a Q&A session.  Below is the blog post with the details.

And also, if you havent already done so, be sure to post your thoughts on our discussion of this topic on our LinkedIn Group


From Eric Ligman's Blog, Microsoft Worldwide Partner Experience Lead

Join us for a Microsoft Partner Network Interactive Leadership Forum

What are you doing Thursday, March 10th from 7:00 – 8:30 am PST?  If you are a Microsoft partner, I would like to invite you to join us for a unique opportunity designed just for you: an interactive online forum with the leadership team of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group.

As I have mentioned many times here on my blog, through my Twitter account, my Linkedin account, in-person meetings, and many other places, here at Microsoft, we are continually striving to reach out, listen to, communicate with, and work with our partners to build a strong partnership with you and to enable the highest levels of joint success possible. Part of this effort includes helping partners get answers to questions they have, addressing misconceptions that may exist, and bringing awareness to resources available that you may not be familiar with.  As such, we are hosting an interactive online forum with the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group leadership team to discuss topics, questions, concerns, misconceptions and more that we have heard from partners around the world regarding the Microsoft Partner Network to help address and answer these for you.

I will be moderating this session and joining me will be:

  • Julie Bennani: General Manager, Microsoft Partner Network
  • Ross Brown: Vice-President, Worldwide Partner Sales
  • Karl Noakes: General Manager, Microsoft Partner Strategy & Programs
  • Jon Roskill: Corporate Vice-President, Worldwide Partner Group (hopefully, based on travel schedule. Should know by end of this week.)
By SuperUser Account on 2/17/2011 5:39 PM

By Mark Armstrong, PartnerPoint Contributing Writer

I am a co-host on a weekly gaming podcast, there are 3 of us that take part in the show each week with a broad range of opinions over the various consoles and their good and bad points.

I am classed as a Microsoft fanboy (boy is a bit unfair as I am now 50) but yes I have been an adopter of Microsoft hardware and software since the introduction of Windows 95 and have followed closely their various innovations in products.

What I wanted to write about is the Microsoft Kinect addition to the 360 and it’s likely impact on gaming in general.

On the show the jury is still out as far as Kinect goes and out of the three of us opinions are evenly spread. First off I am a die-hard Microsoft supporter who bought Kinect has a good number of games and uses it pretty much on a daily basis and loves the interaction it provides. Then we have the show’s host, who invested in the unit, again has as good cross section of games but is pretty much sitting back and saying is that it, where are the games I want to play that blow me away. And finally the other co-host who is playing the waiting game to see if the killer game comes out that says to him go and buy this unit.

By SuperUser Account on 2/17/2011 1:55 PM

With the introduction of Azure Platform, Microsoft is helping small and medium businesses (SMB) make the move into the cloud with integrated cloud applications that were once only available to large enterprises at a considerable price.  One could say Microsoft has helped SMBs grow their wings and soar into the cloud.

Tools like the Azure Platform make it easy even for small businesses to deploy their own web applications right alongside trusted Microsoft products such as Office 365, SharePoint, Lync, and Dynamics CRM.  Additionally, all of Microsoft's cloud products play nicely with on-premise or hosted tools, such as Microsoft Dynamics GP Add the quickly rising market share of Microsoft's new search engine, Bing, and you have a legitimate advertising platform for your business as well, one that can reach audiences on everything from mobile phones to gaming consoles.

 

By SuperUser Account on 2/16/2011 9:44 AM

 

Microsoft delivers the Power of Productivity for customers across all deployment models; raises bar for performance and scalability with 150,000-concurrent-user benchmark.
 

REDMOND, Wash. — Feb. 16, 2011 — Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq “MSFT”) today announced that Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 for on-premises and partner-hosted deployments has been completed and released for customer download. This release complements the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, which delivers Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 as an on-demand service from Microsoft’s datacenters and was launched into 40 markets and 41 languages in January. With a single multitenant code base across cloud and on-premises deployment models, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 delivers the Power of Productivity to sales, service and marketing organizations worldwide.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is now globally available and existing customers with active Microsoft Software Assurance agreements can access the new version immediately via theMicrosoft Download Center.

In addition, Microsoft announced the new release scaled to 150,000 concurrent users in a single instance while delivering sub-second response times, once again raising the bar for performance and scalability in the CRM industry. The new benchmark results will be detailed in a Microsoft Dynamics CRM performance and scalability white paper that will be delivered in the coming weeks.

“The need to build deeper and more profitable relationships on a global scale remains a CIO top priority,” said Mark Barrett, senior vice president, CRM, Avanade. “The combination of Avanade’s deep experience in solution development and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 enables us to deliver comprehensive CRM capabilities to our clients through on-premises deployments as well as a software-as-a-service offering. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 provides a platform for us to help companies strengthen customer and partner relationships, increase productivity, and collaborate across the organization.”

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 provides customers and partners with a wide range of benefits, including point-and-click configurability, enterprise scalability, and easy interoperability to existing applications and databases. It delivers the Power of Productivity for users in organizations of all sizes through its focus on the following:

Familiar experiences through a next-generation native Microsoft Outlook client, browser-based and mobile access, RoleTailored design, and advanced user personalization, improving user adoption and giving users easy access to the information they need to be successful.

Intelligent experiences through guided process dialogs, inline business intelligence for performance and goal management, and real-time dashboards, providing the most up-to-date information critical to enabling sales, service and marketing professionals to do their jobs effectively.

Connected experiences through flexible cloud development, Windows Azure interoperability, contextual Microsoft SharePoint capabilities and the new Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace, making it easy for customers and partners to configure and customize Microsoft Dynamics CRM to meet specific business needs.

 

By SuperUser Account on 2/15/2011 5:43 PM
By Mary Hester, PartnerPoint Contributing Writer
 
 
Not that long ago, the only way to get high-quality, professional materials was through a graphic designer. Printing was a complicated, expensive process that was left to the print shops.  Each project required assembling pictures, graphics and content that was camera-ready.
 
Today, we have access to everything needed to make agency-quality marketing materials with full-color and amazing graphics. Brochures, mailers and newsletters can be printed on-demand or in the perfect quantity to reducing waste and keep the offering fresh.  To save more and reach the online audience, electronic files are brilliant and easy to distribute.  If you have an idea, a good eye and the right tools, you can make magic.
 
Microsoft Office offers the right tools with its Office 2010 Suite of Applications.  Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Publisher provide improved and enhanced features for creating and publishing. Many of the features are cross-platform so you can learn a skill in one application and use it in another.  There are a host of classes for beginner, intermediate and advanced users that can be taken in a classroom environment or online depending on your best learning method.  Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and others offer free, online classes that are perfect for the self-learner.
 
Word is the standard for creating and formatting documents of all types from simple letters to documents with a table of contents, index and glossary. It makes the task of creating and editing documents easy.  Tools like spell check and thesaurus make us look smart and polished. New and improved photo-editing tools let you transform pictures right in Word 2010 – no extra software needed. Change color saturation, temperature, brightness, and contrast to turn a simple Word document into a work of art.  Turn text into visual effects with enhanced text effects and SmartArt graphics. Change basic bullet-points into compelling visuals and add text effects like shadow, glow, reflection, and 3-D in just a few clicks.  With co-authoring, you can edit at the same time as others, even if you're working from different locations, and keep versions in sync with version control. This is a great way to eliminate typos (ever used a there for their or your for you’re?) by having others review your work for content and correctness.
 
By SuperUser Account on 2/14/2011 12:28 PM
At the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Spain, Microsoft leaders announced upcoming new features for Windows Phone 7 and provided a glimpse into the new phone’s early feedback and growing momentum.
 

BARCELONA, Spain – Feb. 14, 2011 – Microsoft today kicked off Mobile World Congress by giving people a glimpse of what the rest of the year will bring for Windows Phone 7. Among the updates are several new features, a booming app marketplace, and the integration of even more Microsoft products with the phone.

A concrete example of the company’s vision is the new strategic partnership with Nokia. “This partnership will combine the strengths of our two companies, and fuel our growth as we build the global Windows Phone ecosystem. This is a great win for us, for Nokia, and for our existing and new customers around the world,” said Andy Lees, president of Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business.

New Windows Phone Features & Apps

Image 1 of 7
IE9 will be available for Windows Phone 7 in the second half of 2011, offering "a dramatically enhanced mobile Web browser experience." The IE9 beta has been <a href="http://www.beautyoftheweb.com">downloaded</a> an estimated 25 million times. Feb. 14, 2011

IE9 Mobile

IE9 will be available for Windows Phone 7 in the second half of 2011, offering "a dramatically enhanced mobile Web browser experience." The IE9 beta has been downloadedan estimated 25 million times. Feb. 14, 2011

Web-Ready

Print-Ready
 
 
IE9 Mobile
Twitter Integration
SkyDrive
Xbox LIVE Extras
Xbox LIVE: Pac-Man
Xbox LIVE: Tetris
Xbox LIVE: Full House Poker
 

“...A year ago, we introduced Windows Phone 7 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. We described how we are putting the entire muscle of our company behind our mobile strategy including Windows, Windows Live, Bing, Zune, Xbox LIVE, Office, SharePoint, Exchange, and our developer tools,” Lees said. “Our alliance with Nokia creates opportunities for both companies far beyond what we could achieve separately, and offers a compelling alternative to the existing choices for consumers, mobile operators and developers.”

 

 

 

By SuperUser Account on 2/11/2011 9:13 AM
10-11WP7Default_main

LONDON, England – The strategic alliance announced by Nokia and Microsoft today could create some rather special devices. Nokia’s phones have always been famed for their great hardware – best-in-class durability, the most powerful cameras on the market and sleek and stylish designs that sit beautifully in the hand. But what about a new OS to go alongside that? Here’s five things that you might look forward to on a Nokia Windows device.

Great Usability
We’ve enjoyed our widgets on Symbian devices, but Microsoft’s tiles are even simpler to set up and to use: and they put the information that’s most needed by users right where you need it. Microsoft Windows Phone 7 offers great ease of use in comparison to other mobile operating systems. Every alternative will have it’s fans, but this one definitely drives up the usability of devices.

Gaming at the next level
If you like to use your mobile device for gaming, then your world just might have got a lot rosier. Using a Nokia Windows phone we’re excited about the possibility of powerful console franchises appearing right on our mobile devices.


By SuperUser Account on 2/11/2011 9:08 AM

By Preston Gralla

Windows Phone 7 today went from also-ran to contender as Nokia and Microsoft announced a far-reaching deal for Windows Phone 7 to power Nokia phones. For the first time in years, Microsoft is relevant in the mobile market.

Although details are somewhat lacking, Windows Phone 7 will replace MeeGo and Symbian as the operating system for Nokia phones. Nokia, by the way, won't abandon Symbian immediately. Instead, according to the New York Times, Symbian will "become a franchise business and that Nokia expected to sell another 150 million mobile phones before halting development."

The move goes well beyond an agreement to use Windows Phone 7 on Nokia devices --- the companies also announced a broad strategic alliance that includes Bing, Nokia maps, development tools, and more.

On the official Nokia blog, an open letter from Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that under the agreement:

• Nokia will adopt Windows Phone as its primary smartphone strategy, innovating on top of the platform in areas such as imaging, where Nokia is a market leader.

• Nokia will help drive and define the future of Windows Phone. Nokia will contribute its expertise on hardware design, language support, and help bring Windows Phone to a larger range of price points, market segments and geographies.

 

By SuperUser Account on 2/10/2011 9:33 AM
DynamicPoint publishes new whitepaper, Best Practices in SharePoint Development for Microsoft Dynamics GP. Almost every ERP and CRM software implementation can be supplemented with additional areas of functionality. Learn just how SharePoint can provide enhancements to magnify the benefits of your Dynamics solution. This whitepaper specifically targets organizations interested in extending the critical data within Dynamics GP with SharePoint Portals, Business Automation and Custom Products that will help automate your business and allow employees to collaborate in ways that save time, money and frustration....
By SuperUser Account on 2/8/2011 10:44 AM

Microsoft really has a lot going for them in their CRM offering, Microsoft Dynamics CRM. What’s great about this application is that instead of trying to be all things to all people, Microsoft has opted for an xRM approach, a simple concept that makes a lot of sense. xRM is an evolution of CRM, where the x stands for ‘anything’, and it recognises that no two companies are the same. By starting with the basic CRM framework, xRM involves adding a number of different applications in order to customize your own software solution suitable for your business processes. These applications are specifically built for Microsoft CRM by Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and carry the certified for Microsoft Dynamics accreditation, so you know they’ve past rigorous tests and are approved by Microsoft.

Some of the industries that are really beginning to benefit from the xRM concept are the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industries. Up until recently the AEC industries have suffered from a lack of scalable and flexible project management software offerings, often having to make do with highly specialized out of the box solutions that don’t quite fit their processes, or project management applications that are just an extension of the company’s accounting software and ‘think’ like accountants, rather than PMs. However, that’s all changing with the solid framework of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which is allowing scalable, industry specific project management solutions such as IPM, to be built on top of it.

But what exactly does Microsoft CRM bring to the Project Management table that makes IPM a game changer?

Well for a start, Outlook integration. Microsoft Dynamics CRM gives you the opportunity to do all your work from within Outlook, an environment most people are already somewhat familiar with. Project managers are no different, and as IPM is built on top of CRM, you can manage all their project information in IPM from within your email account. We find this not only provides convenience, but also results in a high user adoption as you don’t have to learn a new system.

By SuperUser Account on 2/2/2011 12:05 PM

The search spat between Google and Bing has turned ugly, with Google employees dissing Microsoft in company blog posts and personal Twitter updates.

Bing allegedly copies some of Google's obscure search results by collecting user' click data through the Bing toolbar and "Suggested Sites" tool in Internet Explorer. Google bases its accusations on a "sting operation" in which engineers set up dummy search results based on nonsense words, and watched as Bing produced mostly duplicate results.

The revelation makes for a lively debate, but the back-and-forth between Google and Microsoft (at a search event on Tuesdayover Twitter and in blog posts) also reflects poorly on Google, the search juggernaut who surely has better things to do than slag on a competitor who has roughly 12 percent of the market (or 28 percent counting Yahoo).

Here are five reasons Google should keep its head down now that the facts are out:

Algorithm Isn't Everything

Bing isn't going to beat Google just because it allegedly cribbed some long-tail searches, just as Yahoo didn't beat Google back when Google was powering Yahoo's search engine. User experience is still the key, and Google can take comfort knowing it's still the best in that regard.

By SuperUser Account on 2/1/2011 10:17 AM

 ‘Patch Tuesday’ is the second Tuesday of every month. It’s the day when Microsoft releases any software updates that are needed to address security or availability problems with their products. Getting a bunch of 20 or so software updates to test and deploy each month can be a daunting task for an IT department, especially for those with limited resources. But it’s a lot less daunting than fighting a blizzard of malware like viruses, trojans and worms that can wipe data, destroy business productivity and generally make your life hell. Software updates prevent malware attacks from doing damage to your systems, that’s why they are so important.

The problem is, sometimes software updates can cause damage to systems because of application incompatibility issues. Usually this can result in crashes and errors that cost more precious time and the respect of the business.
 
To make life easier Microsoft provides two toolsets to help you get secure and keep systems up-to-date with patches. 
  • Windows Software Update Services 3 (an included role that ships as part of Windows Server).
     
  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manger 2007 (whose Client Access Licences are typically included in the Microsoft’s Core Enterprise Agreement CAL pack)
By SuperUser Account on 1/31/2011 3:36 PM

There are few people that I admire more than Mr. Bill Gates.  During my lifetime, he has been by far the most impressive business person in the areas that are important to me as a business owner.  As a teen ager, he had the creativity and vision to see PC and Operating System opportunity when most others didn’t.  He then had the business sense to leverage the opportunity to create a successful business.  After that,  he succeeded at maintaining an active control of the company thru ought an amazing growth trajectory over the next 20 years or so, which few Founders can say.  And finally, he has (or is, I should say)  successfully utilizing his successes, both monetarily and politically, to fuel his passion of making the world a better place for everyone.  How could you ask for more?

 
 
By SuperUser Account on 1/31/2011 2:17 PM

BY: MARK DRAPEAU

 

The Federal government has made a good deal of progress toward being more transparent, collaborative, and participatory during the two years since President Obama took office. However, despite great strides, government practitioners' use of social media is not very sophisticated, does not take advantage of the latest tactics and tools, and does not necessarily improve the dialogue around big issues citizens really care about -- the economy, jobs, national security, health, and the environment. Meanwhile, the Government 2.0 / Open Government movement's strategic thought leaders in many ways remain focused on internal foci like what certain words mean, or what Data.gov should look like. Here, I ask five "big questions" about government social media use to put technology, government, social engagement, citizens, and business together in a larger perspective

Who are the public faces of government agencies online?

When you think of tech companies in Washington, DC interacting with the government, you can often think of a specific person who is the official or unofficial "face" of the company -- both online and offline. They have some digital savvy in one way or another (they write, they tweet, there are online videos of their interviews, etc.) For Microsoft in DC, people often think of me or Lewis Shepherd (Microsoft Research's liasion to government). Google has the father of the Internet, Vint Cerf, appear at functions and give talks. Facebook has Adam Conner. Twitter now has Adam Sharp.

And this is of course not limited to technology companies, nor to Washington, DC. Comcast had until recently Frank Eliason. Ford has Scott Monty. Back in the day, Microsoft had Robert Scoble in Redmond, WA. There are variations on this theme, but certainly many private sector brands are moving toward something like this (see: iJustine loves Junior Mints), on purpose or accidentally, and in many cases the benefits of authentic audience engagement outweigh the downside of it.

By SuperUser Account on 1/31/2011 2:10 PM

By Jeff Vance

If I asked you to pick the most over-hyped technology trend of the past year, you’d probably pick either “cloud computing” or “smartphones and tablets.” Pretty much every tech publication has wall-to-wall coverage of those trends, while plenty of vendors are busily slapping “cloud” and “mobile” on a slew of products that are only vaguely so.

The thing about these so-called over-hyped trends, though, is that they really aren’t. In the build up to the Super Bowl, you will see exhaustive coverage of the Steelers and Packers, and, sure, there’s way more hype than I’d prefer, even as an expatriate Pittsburgher and rabid Steeler fan. But are those teams really over-hyped when they’re at the top of the NFL heap?

Similarly, cloud computing and mobile get more than their fair share of attention, but on the other hand, investment dollars are flowing into cloud and mobile companies; startups are popping up like weeds, and plenty of incumbents such as Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle and IBM (to name only a few), are betting big on these trends.

One thing much less hyped is that the cloud and mobile are intersecting in many, many places, giving rise to the “Mobile Cloud.”

How is the “mobile cloud” different from the “cloud?” Ask ten different tech experts and you’ll get ten different answers. Often, the term “mobile cloud” simply indicates the most common end point accessing a particular cloud, although as the mobile cloud evolves expect some subtle differences in regard to security, back-end infrastructure, app design, etc. to emerge.

Even though the mobile cloud is still in its infancy, here are five things IT should know about the mobile cloud in order to prepare for the future:

By SuperUser Account on 1/28/2011 1:44 PM
ESPN unveils gridiron magic in its new feature series “I Am a World Champion,” presented by Bing.
 

BRISTOL, Conn., and REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 24, 2011 — ESPN and Bing, the Decision Engine from Microsoft Corp., have joined forces to present a multifaceted program that includes a unique feature series highlighting champion quarterbacks and their decisive moments in life and football, as well as an on-site activation as part of ESPN The Magazine’s annual NEXT event during Super Bowl weekend.

Only 28 men have ever led their team to a Super Bowl victory and walked off the field a world champion quarterback. Beginning today, ESPN is launching a new feature series called “I Am a World Champion,” presented by Bing, offering a first-person narrative from the signal callers who helped define the biggest game in American sports. This original content will showcase the travails and triumphs told in the quarterback’s own voice, such as Terry Bradshaw’s relationship with Chuck Noll and the many daunting life obstacles Doug Williams overcame to reach glory. The first installment, featuring Bradshaw, is now available online at http://espn.go.com/nfl/superbowl/quarterbacks and airs today at 4 p.m. EST duringNFL Live, with additional segments running throughout the week on both NFL Live and afternoon editions of SportsCenter. Also, as the official Decision Engine of ESPN The Magazine’s 2011 NEXT event, Bing will be presenting an open-to-the-public panel of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks including Joe Montana, Doug Williams and Kurt Warner on Saturday, Feb. 5 at 2 p.m. CST.

“We’re excited to team up with ESPN Films to showcase the decisive moments in the lives and careers of these legendary quarterbacks,” said Danielle Tiedt, general manager of Bing. “It’s been an inspirational journey to work with ESPN to bring this unique content to life reflecting the key life and career decisions that made these men into legends.”

“Our collaboration with Bing gave us an opportunity to create a series of truly inspiring features, which offer a new perspective on the lives and careers of a few of the men who have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy,” said Ed Erhardt, president of ESPN Customer Marketing and Sales.

Within each story, the quarterbacks will share recollections of perseverance and sacrifice made on their path to the Super Bowl, and how that ultimate moment of achievement has impacted their lives years later. From the relative quiet of their lives today to the clamorous traffic of those intense, game-winning moments on the field and into champagne-soaked locker rooms, “I Am a World Champion,” presented by Bing, will share the personal stories and memories of this elite group of men. The television schedule is as follows (all EST). Each of the features will also be available athttp://espn.go.com/nfl/superbowl/quarterbacks:

 

By SuperUser Account on 1/26/2011 10:33 AM

By Alex Thayer, PartnerPoint Contributing Writer

The business of digital games is booming. Sales are estimated to exceed $70 billion by 2015, and the potential for growth is better than ever given the strength of the console and online gaming markets. But like all software products, digital games must be localized for different markets around the world, a process that can be costly without the right approach, knowledge, and expectations. Without specific knowledge about how to localize games and capitalize on the huge worldwide market, your entry into that market will be far less likely to turn a profit.
 
What is localization, exactly? Localization is the process of modifying a product, solution, or service for a specific culture, locale, language, country, or community. Localization is a strategic process that requires a great deal of planning and active management to complete in a successful manner. As the Internet and digital technology have changed the ways in which companies interact with clients, and the ways in which countries interact with each other, localization has become an area of specialization for members of the technical and professional communication and software development industries. Large software companies increasingly regard localization as an essential activity; localization managers who guide the process of making a software application usable for different cultures are a growing component of the workforce.
By SuperUser Account on 1/26/2011 10:11 AM

By Tiffany Ingargiola, PartnerPoint Contributing Writer 

2011 will mark my third Microsoft TechED North America conference and I couldn’t be more excited for May to arrive.  As active as I am in the Microsoft Partner network, it took me to actually attend the conference to understand its TRUE value. An analogy to help convey its value would be, “What Microsoft WPC (World Partner Conference) is to a partner is what TechED is to our customers”. So what, there are lots of great conferences, what separates TechEd from any other conference?  I have narrowed down my top three reasons why a Microsoft partner of any solution competency should attend:
 
If only for the EXPO Hall: Imagine walking into a conference as if you were THE client/customer?  Well this is where our decision makers come to find the NEXT big thing that they can and will implement in their company. Partners are contacted actively by vendors to re-sell their products. The Expo hall of TechED is full of these vendors and here you actually have the opportunity to view their presentations as the client.  I thought it was great to see where the crowds gathered and find out what the vendors had to offer. Wouldn’t you love to see a client as they demo the products? Whether understanding the delivery or taking in the questions, if you have some products you are considering adding to your arsenal this is the place to make that decision.
By SuperUser Account on 1/26/2011 9:54 AM

By Richard A. Bilancia, PartnerPoint Contributing Writer

Want to get real value for your information technology investments? Then forget about perfection and focus on the key and significant. If you can learn to focus on the right things to do, the returns on IT investment can be enormous. All that it takes is the application of Pareto's Law, also known as the 80/20 rule. 
 
An enormous amount has been written over the last several years about information technology investments and their ROI. The observations made and guidance given in many of these articles is correct and solid. However, all too many technology initiatives focus on perfection (i.e., getting absolutely everything done perfectly). The scope of many of these technology initiatives is simply too broad. The small significant achievements get lost while efforts continue to standardize absolutely everything within the original project scope; or, worse yet, an even greater scope. It’s become so common that a phrase exists for the phenomenon: “scope creep.”
In most information technology projects, broader scope and greater levels of effort add little, if any, extra value; they frequently simply add extra cost. However, applying some 100 year-old basics formulated by Vilfredo Pareto can make a substantial difference.
 
Vilfredo Pareto
 
Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) was an Italian economist and political sociologist. As part of his life-long research, he formulated, “The law of the trivial many and the critical few.” This law has become commonly known as the “80/20 rule.” His law can be restated to apply to information technology initiatives: “In any system implementation, 80% of the potential value of that implementation can be achieved from just 20% of the total effort or cost.” One can spend the remaining 80% of effort (or cost) for relatively little return. 
 
Table 1 below summarizes this.
 
Cost Value
100% 100%
20% 80%
 
 
Please note that once the initial 80% value has been achieved, to achieve the final 20% of value requires spending five times more than was spent for the initial increment.
 

 

By SuperUser Account on 1/25/2011 11:49 AM

Background

Stonetree Network Solutions specializes in bringing the "Fortune 100" technology experience to small and medium-sized businesses in the Denver, Colorado area. Innovative offerings include their popular STONEMail service for spam-free, virus-free, HIPAA/PCI/SOX-compliant secure email – all without the overhead expense of an in-house email solution. Clients can access their email the same way they would with a traditional email server without the worry of server configuration, backup, retention, archives, or upgrades.

Other Stonetree services include outsourced IT, disaster recovery, electronic backup, hosted email solution, project implementations, wireless installation and support, and virus scans and malware protection for a client base as diverse as medical offices, engineering firms, property managers, nonprofit organizations and more.

'Blended' Business Model

In order to make good on the kind of quality services they were committed to delivering, Stonetree owners Dan and Andrea Mullen chose to partner with technology providers who Dan Mullen calls "the best of the best." Their business relies on a combination of smart technologies that include the Microsoft Exchange 2010 and Microsoft Server 2008 R2 platform, HP ProLiant Servers, VMWare, and WatchGuard network security solutions.

Mullen does not refer to his company as a managed services provider (MSP). "We offer 'blended services.' By that I mean a combination of some of the services an MSP would provide, but with the personal on-site touch that lets the clients actually know who we are. We become an integral part of their team, and it doesn't cost them any more for the personal service. We charge a flat rate with no additional fees for after-hours or emergency support."

 

By SuperUser Account on 1/25/2011 11:02 AM

By Robert Peretson, PartnerPoint Contributing Writer

If you're managing in-house Microsoft Exchange for the clients you support, I'm willing to bet that a very significant portion of your time is dedicated to maintaining that one system. After all, consider all of the issues that require your regular attention:

Controlling Spam

Preventing virus attacks

Getting clients removed from blacklists

Managing end-users with enormous mailboxes

Configuring communication with mobile devices

Ensuring reliable backups and easy restoral of Exchange data

Configuring remote connectivity for off-site end-users

Dealing with complaints of undeliverable messages

End-users complaining of missing emails

Entourage databases needing to be rebuilt

Archiving or restoring pst files

Setting out-of-office policies

Setting security and user access to public folders

Managing permissions for shared calendars and contact lists

The list goes on. Just think of all the Exchange related tasks you've had to deal with yourself over the last couple of weeks.

By SuperUser Account on 1/24/2011 11:03 AM

By Mary S. Hester, PartnerPoint Contributing Writer

Clouds are made of increased bandwidth and storage blended with the advances in virtualization and remote access. Today’s technology allows us to compute anywhere, anytime. The sky is clear blue for cloud computing, but it hasn’t always been that way.
 
Cloud computing grew out of the centralized or mainframe model. For those who remember mainframes, it was the only way to compute. We had remote access, but it was cumbersome, slow and expensive. Programmers got in the habit of coding all night long when rates were the cheapest. Then those long, sleepless nights were replaced by distributed computing, a computer for everyone, but somehow programmers still program all night. 
 
The distributed computing model was embraced rapidly. With amazing graphics and Internet availability, the computer became a household appliance.  But distributed computing had its drawbacks, it was hard to interface disparate systems and collaborate in real-time. Recently, 100% availability and remote connections at LAN speeds have resurrected the centralized computing model with a new name. You could say that computing has come full circle back to a centralized computing model that we call Cloud Computing.  It is provocative, exciting and revolutionary.
 
New technology holds a dilemma as most computer users don’t really care about the technology; they just want it to work easily and reliability.  And business owners are only slightly interested in the merits of a distributed or centralized computer model. They want computer systems that are economical, productive and work without needing a staff of IT gurus.
By SuperUser Account on 1/24/2011 10:38 AM

By Robert Peretson, PartnerPoint Contributing Writer

If you're a managed service provider, you know that every potential new client can possibly represent a significant boost to your revenue. And you know that it's challenging enough to just get your foot in the door. Once you do and you're face-to-face with your prospective new customer, how can you give yourself the edge you need to close the deal?

There are several things that you must do if you want to have any chance at landing the client. Ask questions… listen more than talk… develop a rapport… be honest.

But one of the most effective things you can do to turn your prospect into a paying client is to provide a compelling demonstration.

The late Billy Mays was one of the most successful and recognized sales pitchmen in recent history. There was a television program called "Pitchmen" a few years ago that followed the process that Billy and his partner Anthony Sullivan followed when choosing products to sell. In one of the episodes, Billy said very clearly, "The very first thing I need to see in a product is - "Is it Highly Demonstrable? When I show you the product in action, do you instantly know what it does… what the benefit is?"

Did you ever hear the slogan "Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking"? Back in the 1950's a small, young watch company used that slogan in a marketing campaign where in their commercials they "tortured" their watches with jackhammers, paint mixers and strapped them to the propeller of an outboard boat motor. These compelling demonstrations showing the abuse these watches were able to endure were the reason that in just a few short years, one of every three watches sold in the U.S. was a Timex… and why over half a century later, we still instantly know who the slogan belongs to.

By SuperUser Account on 1/19/2011 11:41 AM
A free Web development tool makes it easy to create, customize and publish a website.
 

REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 13, 2011 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of WebMatrix, a free Web development tool designed to help website developers of all skill levels easily create, customize and publish websites to the Internet. Microsoft has also made available a set of video tutorials, how-to tips and other resources for helping new Web developers get started.

“Our Web platform offers a complete ecosystem of products, partners and technologies all aimed at helping developers succeed on the Web,” said S. Somasegar, senior vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft. “Every day, more people are looking to build, publish and manage a website, and now, with WebMatrix, we provide developers of all skill levels with a sophisticated, yet easy-to-use solution to get their sites online.”

WebMatrix is available today in nine languages and includes a set of tools to create new websites, using code provided through a variety of available templates or using existing free open source Web applications, such as WordPress, Joomla!, DotNetNuke and Umbraco.

Ryan Ozimek, a leader of Joomla!, the widely used content management system, will join Microsoft executives at today’s launch event in Sandusky, Ohio. “WebMatrix puts the power and user-friendliness of Joomla! within arm’s reach of Web developers and designers by providing a set of easily accessible tools,” said Ozimek, president of Open Source Matters, the nonprofit organization that helps manage the Joomla! project.

The ecosystem of nearly 40 open source application partners supporting WebMatrix is essential for development success on the Web. “WebMatrix is one of the best ways to set up and build an Umbraco website,” said Niels Hartvig, founder of Umbraco. “With strong industry partners supporting into WebMatrix, Microsoft’s holistic approach is truly breaking down the entry barrier for Web developers.”

By SuperUser Account on 1/19/2011 11:39 AM

 

Steve Ballmer introduces the new service that delivers the Power of Productivity to customers worldwide.
 

REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 17, 2011 — Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq “MSFT”) CEO Steve Ballmer today announced the worldwide availability of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, the cloud version of the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 release that delivers new levels of productivity to sales, service and marketing organizations. The on-premises and partner-hosted versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 will be globally available on Feb. 28, 2011.

For the first time outside North America, customers can access Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online in 40 markets and 41 languages and sign up for a free trial at http://crm.dynamics.com. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is available today at a promotional price of $34 per user per month for the first 12 months of service to qualified customers that sign up by June 30, 2011.

30-day free trial of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online
 
 

“Sales professionals are at the heart of almost every successful business,” Ballmer said. “Microsoft Dynamics CRM redefines productivity by offering an industry-leading product that is fully embracing the cloud. The things that make Microsoft Dynamics CRM an industry leader include giving sales professionals a familiar user experience, enabling greater collaboration, streamlining of processes and access to real-time data so they can improve their customers’ experiences and effectively compete in the market.”

Based on the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 release, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online delivers breakthrough productivity by providing familiar, intelligent and connected experiences to users across the organization:

Familiar experiences for sales, service and marketing users through a next-generation native Microsoft Outlook client, browser-based and mobile access, RoleTailored design, and advanced user personalization, improving user adoption and giving users easy access to the information they need to be successful

Intelligent experiences through guided process dialogs, inline business intelligence for performance and goal management, and real-time dashboards, providing the most up-to-date information critical to enabling sales, service and marketing professionals to do their jobs effectively

Connected experiences through flexible cloud development, Windows Azure interoperability, contextual Microsoft SharePoint capabilities and the new Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace, making it easy for customers and partners to configure and customize Microsoft Dynamics CRM to meet specific business needs

By SuperUser Account on 1/17/2011 12:19 PM

 By Russ Colburn

 
Now PlayingOver the past year or so, our industry has seen many changes in the way home entertainment is provided. With the addition of Internet TV services such as Hulu©, movie streaming services such as Netflix, and digital movie rentals and purchasing services such as Best Buy’s CinemaNow© and Amazon, our ability to view what we want, when we want it, and on the devices of our choice, has developed so quickly that few companies are in a position to capitalize on all of it. One such company is Microsoft.
 
Although Apple TV© and Google TV©, as well as a number of smaller products like the Boxee© Box, the Roku© Box and Western Digital’s line of products, have gotten most of the press, Microsoft, with its Media Center feature included in many of the Windows versions, has been in this market for almost 10 years. They have overcome or avoided many of the limitations that other products suffer from. You can surf the internet with your choice of browser, you can stream media across your network in any format, and you can even use an external storage device. It’s a pc! Unfortunately, Windows Media Center© is also one of Microsoft’s best kept secrets.
By SuperUser Account on 1/12/2011 12:24 PM
 
Just thought I'd share the Microsoft Logo Builder for Partners site with you since I didnt know it existed until I stumbpled upon it.  It's a Microsoft site that helps partners build appropriate logos based on their partner level and competencies.
 
Once you login with your Windows Live credentials, it checks for available logo templates based on your Partner Status.
 
There is also a Resources tab which provides branding guildlines for using the older Microsoft Gold Certified and Certified Partner logos.
 
By SuperUser Account on 1/12/2011 11:54 AM
Microsoft today named some of the country’s top “cloud-friendly” U.S. cities. The rankings are based on the results of an extensive survey in which 2,000 IT decision makers nationwide discussed how they are adopting and using cloud computing.
 
 

REDMOND, Wash. – Jan. 12, 2011 – The forecast for cloud computing across key U.S. cities calls for new lines of business, more need for IT services, and potential job growth, according to a new survey released today by Microsoft.

Microsoft released the results of the study this week after interviewing more than 2,000 IT decision-makers in 10 U.S. cities.

 

Microsoft interviewed more than 2,000 IT decision-makers in 10 U.S. cities. The survey indicates that cloud computing is helping to create new businesses and jobs in each city.
Microsoft interviewed more than 2,000 IT decision-makers in 10 U.S. cities. The survey indicates that cloud computing is helping to create new businesses and jobs in each city.
Click for larger image. 

The cities are ranked based on how local businesses are adopting and using cloud computing solutions – including hiring vendors to migrate to the cloud, seeking IT professionals with cloud computing experience, and creating new lines of business based on cloud platforms. The survey indicates that cloud computing is not only a growing sector of the IT services community, but helping to create new businesses and jobs locally.

By SuperUser Account on 1/6/2011 9:35 AM

Remarks by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at 2011 International CES 
Las Vegas, Nev.
Jan. 5, 2011

 

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft Corporation, Steve Ballmer.

STEVE BALLMER: Good evening, and welcome. 2010 was a very, very exciting year for our company. We launched Windows Phone 7, Office 2010, and Kinect, and we introduced Internet Explorer 9 and Office 365. We saw great growth in our Bing and Azure Services. And with the amazing success of Windows 7, it's truly been a year like no other.

So, we want to start by saying thank you to the over one billion customers around the world for their support and feedback. I also want to have a chance to say thanks to all the folks here in the room, and on the webcast for taking the time today. We appreciate your time and your support. The products that I mentioned resulted from big technology bets that we made, bets on the cloud, natural user interface, new smart client technology, machine learning. Tonight at CES, we want to share with you not only what we've done most recently, but a little bit of what's coming next. We're going to show you the impact of some of those technology bets through the lens of the three most important consumer devices, the TV for the Xbox, the Windows Phone, and the Windows PC. So, I want to start and dive on in.

A decade ago, we took a bold step forward towards transforming entertainment. We started with gaming with the launch of Xbox, a smart device powered by the magic of software. Xbox transported, literally transported tens of millions of people into the world of Halo, Gears of War, Call of Duty, Fable, and many others. The next step in that journey was the launch of Xbox LIVE, which transformed gaming experiences with the cloud. That put Xbox front and center in the social entertainment revolution connecting millions of people so they could have fun with their friends.

But entertainment goes beyond gaming. So, we expanded Xbox LIVE to include music, TV, movies, Facebook, and much, much more. And just over two months ago, we took our biggest step towards transforming entertainment for the whole family. We launched Kinect for Xbox 360, opening the broad world of entertainment to the entire family. With Kinect you are the controller, and there's nothing else like it in the world. Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and Kinect have made 2010 the biggest year in Xbox history. This video should give you a little bit of a sense of that.

(Video segment.)

By SuperUser Account on 1/6/2011 9:15 AM
 Xbox Momentum Rolls On: Xbox, Kinect Help Microsoft Connect with Consumers
New Kinect-enabled entertainment experiences, new Xbox LIVE game and entertainment experiences, and huge sales figures led the Xbox team’s announcements at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show and point to ongoing momentum for Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business.
 

LAS VEGAS – Jan. 6, 2011 – The sales figures released at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show made it official: Kinect has connected with consumers.

Over the past two months consumers have snatched up Kinect almost as quickly as retailers have stocked the shelves, according to sales figures Microsoft reported Wednesday at 2011 CES. Since its release on Nov. 4, more than eight million Kinect sensors have been sold. That figure easily outdistances the five million unit forecast the company had predicted to sell during the sensor’s first 60 days.

Kinect for Xbox 360 was a big hit with consumers over the 2010 holiday season, with eight million sensors sold over a 60-day period.
Kinect for Xbox 360 was a big hit with consumers over the 2010 holiday season, with eight million sensors sold over a 60-day period.
Click for high-res version. 

The wild ride to close out 2010 capped the “biggest year ever” for Xbox, said David Dennis, group public relations manager for Xbox. Over the holiday season, console sales for the Xbox 360 hit 50 million. It also was the No. 1-selling console in North America over the past six months. Meanwhile, the Xbox LIVE community continued to grow strongly overall in 2010, adding a new member every two seconds. Xbox LIVE now has more than 30 million active members.

Dennis said the announcements made at CES, including new Kinect-enabled entertainment experiences and new Xbox LIVE gaming titles, signal that the momentum behind Xbox should continue through 2011.

“It used to be you would go buy this piece of plastic and put it under your TV, and five years later it’s the exact same thing that you bought at the store,” he said. “I think Microsoft has shown the ability to innovate and bring new experiences like Kinect as well as Netflix, Hulu, and ESPN, all leveraging Xbox LIVE, to continue to reinvent what you think of as the Xbox. You turn it on, and we continue to update it, keep it fresh, and bring new features.”

Kinect Transforms Entertainment in the Living Room

Kinect is a prime example of how natural user interface (NUI) is transforming gaming by making it more social and approachable than anyone ever thought was possible, but it’s just the beginning, Dennis said. Several CES announcements showed how Microsoft will take Kinect’s controller-free experience beyond gaming and into entertainment throughout the year. This spring, for example, Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers will be able to use Kinect to control Netflix on Xbox LIVE. Viewers will be able to pause, rewind, and fast-forward streaming movies with only their voice or gestures.

 

By SuperUser Account on 1/5/2011 5:12 PM
Q&A: In a technology preview at CES, Microsoft demonstrates Windows running on new SoC x86 and ARM-based systems.
 

LAS VEGAS — Jan. 5, 2011 — At a press conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, in advance of the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft announced that the next version of Windows will support System on a Chip (SoC) architectures including ARM-based systems from partners NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments. Intel and AMD continue their work on low-power SoC designs on the x86 architecture that fully support Windows, including support for millions of x86 applications worldwide. SoC architectures will fuel significant innovation across the hardware spectrum when coupled with the depth and breadth of the Windows platform.

Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division.
Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division.
Click for high-res version. 

The Microsoft News Center team talked with Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division, in advance of the announcement.

Microsoft News Center: Can you give us an overview of what led you to make this announcement today and what the specific news is?

Sinofsky: We are making this announcement now to allow greater collaboration across our expanded partner ecosystem so we can bring to market the widest possible set of PCs and devices, from tablets on up, with the next generation of Windows. We’re at a point in engineering the next release of Windows where we are demonstrating our progress and bringing together an even broader set of partners required to deliver solutions to customers.

We’ve reached a point in technology where everyone really does want everything from their computing experience — the power and breadth of software for today's laptop, the long battery life and always-on promise of a mobile phone, and the possibilities from a new generation of tablets. Bringing these capabilities together to meet customer demand requires innovation in hardware as well as a flexible, evolving software platform to bring it to life.

Today we announced that the next version of Windows will support a new kind of hardware, SoC architectures, that will power the next generation of devices. NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments are working on SoC designs based on the ARM architecture. Intel and AMD will continue to innovate on the x86 32-bit and 64-bit platforms, including new SoC or low-power systems.

By SuperUser Account on 1/4/2011 11:03 AM

The best properties always look too expensive. Market leaders command the highest prices. It is only a year or two later that they look like great deals. The experts thought Microsoft was crazy when they invested $240M in Facebook at a $15B valuation. Crazy like a fox. Digital Sky Technologies invested $200M in Facebook in May of 2010 at a $10B valuation. The "experts" thought the Russians had gone crazy. What do they think now? Just 7 months later Goldman Sachs is investing $500M at a $50B valuation. No one ever called Goldman Sachs crazy.

I learned this lesson from my father-in-law who built a 40 store chain of tire and auto part stores. In the process he bought a lot of real estate for store locations. He told me "great properties always look too expensive." "It is only five years later that you look like a genius and the purchase price looks cheap." Technology moves much faster than real estate.

Kleiner Perkins is reported to be placing a market cap of $4B on Twitter for a new round of funding. Techcrunch reported that Facebook has been valued at $50B based on sales on Second Market.Techmeme has stories every day of startups with rich valuations, or later round financings with multi-billion dollar valuations.

Paying premium prices for the best property usually pays off. However, extrapolating the valuation of the market leader down to a much smaller player or clone company almost never works. Market valuations are asymmetric. Many investors forget this simple truth. Market leaders demand much higher valuations than smaller players or clones. The reasoning goes if Groupon is worth $6B, then my Copypon.com is worth at least 1% or $60M. Sorry, but that is not the way it works. The market leader has huge market share, higher margins, and much higher vaulation than the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th place player. Typically the top four companies in any market own 95% of the market. Everyone else fights for the remaining 5% of the market and loses boat loads of money.

By SuperUser Account on 1/4/2011 10:58 AM

Microsoft CES 2011CES 2011 is in our sights. Even though the show deals primarily with gadgets and technology, it also presents a good opportunity for gaming. Microsoft happens to be one of the bigger companies at the show that’s in the business of gaming and everything else. Microsoft is bound to announce some interesting things about Kinect, and you can get in on the action without actually being there. Microsoft is streaming its entire keynote on Facebook.

The keynote starts tomorrow (January 5, 2011) at 9:30p ET/6:30p PT/0230 GMT. You eastern time zone dwellers are going to have to stay up a little late to see the whole thing. To view the live stream, head over to Microsoft’s Facebook page (linked below), and click on the CES 2011 tab. After you “Like” Microsoft, you’ll have access to all of its CES 2011 information. It also means you’ll continue to get Microsoftupdates after CES so long as you don’t “Unlike” its page.

 

By SuperUser Account on 1/4/2011 10:51 AM

In Las Vegas this week, it's gadgets, gizmos and goodies -- oh my!

The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which begins this Thursday in Las Vegas, has a checkered 40-plus-year history when it comes to introducing new products to the public. And this week, when more than 130,000 attendees descend on the show, will be no exception.

CES has witnessed the debut of the VCR (1970) and the CD (1981) as well as the DVD (1996) and HDTV (1998). On the other hand, it also touted the birth of the Laserdisc (1974) and the Mini Disc (1993) -- remember those? One should take the launch of every revolutionary, lifestyle-changing product with a grain of salt.

By SuperUser Account on 1/4/2011 10:45 AM

Mobile Marketing Microsoft TV to Square Off Against Google TV, Apple TVThe connected TV space is about to get substantially more crowded.

On the heels of CES 2011, there are rumblings that we may get a fresh look at something the folks at Microsoft have been working on for months – a new Apple TV and Google TV rival that will expand the Windows Media Center to the masses through their connected TVs.  According to tech columnist Brier Dudley of The Seattle Times:

The boxes are expected to cost around $200 and go on sale later this year. They’ll pose a serious challenge to the new Apple and Google TV devices, largely because the Windows boxes have a polished and familiar TV-program guide that makes it easy to blend and navigate both online and broadcast content.

 
By SuperUser Account on 1/3/2011 10:06 AM

 By Robert Johnson

On November 8, 2010, one of my most anticipated packages arrived from Amazon: a250 GB Xbox 360 Kinect combo. Kinect is one of the more popular devices to leave the doors of Microsoft. The Redmond, Wash.-based company initially expected to sell two million of them during the holiday season but upped estimates to five million due to high preorder sales. Not a day goes by without reports about how someone has hacked Kinect for some other use besides gaming. I think this suggests demand for natural user interfaces will expand beyond touch, and go mainstream. Couple that with the high cool factor Kinect offers and this could be the device that reinvigorates Microsoft's consumer image. Could Kinect be Microsoft's iPod?

I think so. In case you don't remember, Apple was largely a forgotten company in the mid 1990s. There were no mainstream products, Macs were very expensive for most consumers to buy and most businesses chose the certainty of Windows. Things began to change when Apple cofounder Steve Jobs returned to the company in late 1996 and became interim CEO the next year. In 1998, he launched the trendy, translucent iMac. But there wasn't much room for Mac sales to grow -- most people used Windows PCs. Apple needed something new.

By SuperUser Account on 12/29/2010 10:22 AM

 Google, Microsoft, Apple, Mozilla and Opera all were busy in 2010 with browser development as HTML 5 took center stage.