Wednesday, July 25, 2007

MBS Chief Reassures Partners

Microsoft partners anxious about the new MBS (Microsoft Business Solutions) chief got their chance to meet him at the vendor's Worldwide Partner Conference July 10 to 12 in Denver

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Fun Facts From Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference

Best nickname:

The hotel for press, analysts combined the interior look of a war zone with the fa├žade of a parking structure. Press wags not-so-affectionately dubbed it the Baghdad Hilton.



Best Stealth Factoid:

Designated Microsoft spokespeople would not provide price on the new embeddable version of BizTalk Server (R2). A panelist was not so reticent: List price: $500.

Best Bamboozle:

Microsoft COO Kevin Turner talked up a three-way simultaneous launch next February of Longhorn/Katmai/Orcas (that’s Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 to those who stand on formalities.)

The only thing is, at least one third of the three products won’t ship at launch time—SQL Server is on for a second quarter 08 general availability.

Best Quip About the Best Bamboozle:

An MBS exec, who shall go nameless here, asked whether the launch was more marketing shtick than real launch answered: “Marketing, reality, what’s the difference?”



Second Best Quip about the Best Bamboozle:

A former system integrator exec attending the show: “It would be nice if they all shipped together, but I’m not sure the world could stand it if they did. This launch will blow previous enterprise launches away.”


Most Reassuring Comment for MBS Partners:

New MBS senior vice president Kirill Tatarinov said his experience building Microsoft’s Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI) will help him in the business apps push. Both DSI and MBS are “oriented on a partner ecosystem. The message there [with DSI] is to build manageable systems, with the whole ecosystem working together. For us to help businesses run themselves well and implement business processes…From meeting with partners for two days non-stop, I can say the ecosystem in business solutions is much broader and partnering is the strategy.”


Most Cynical Response to Marketing Spiel:

The incessant “People Ready” message started grating immediately. Asked if he were, in fact, “people ready,” one long time Microsoft analyst noted: “You show me which people and I’ll tell you if I’m ready.”

Most Craven Appeal For Approval:

When EPG honcho announced to partners he watned them to help build Micrsofot’s enterprise sales grow 20 percent next year, there was silence and less-than a smattering of applause (It was early). “I do need some applause on that,” said Simon.

The polite crowd obliged.


Best WTF moment:

Allison Watson strapping on a jet pack that would allegedly “propel” her around the stage. Fade to black.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Big Surprise: Microsoft Gets Aggressive On 'Live' CRM Pricing

Microsoft, true to its volume sales heritage, will offer its upcoming hosted CRM Live service for as little as $39 per user per month.

That figure puts it well under the list prices of competitive offerings from Salesforce.com and NetSuite. Most of those rival SKUs list for well over $100 per user per month although discounting undoubtedly occurs.



There will be two main CRM Live “SKUs”: an Enterprise edition for $59 per user per month and a lower-end Professional edition for $39 per user per month as an introductory price good for 2008. The main difference is that the professional version provides no offline data synchronization.


And, true to its word, the company says sales of even the Microsoft-hosted “Live” CRM will carry a partner component. In fact, “customer access will be entirely through partners. We certainly believe partners add value and want to make sure they’re involved,” said Brad Wilson, general manager of CRM for Microsoft.


Those partners will get 10 percent margin on the initial sign up and ten percent forever annuity from then on, Wilson added.

Salesforce.com, which blazed the trail with hosted CRM, offers a 10 percent referral fee, but it is a one-time payment—there are no residuals. Salesforce.com is, however, encouraging partners to do customization work and app development atop its platform for fatter margins. NetSuite partners who hit certain target numbers on net new sales, can get 30, 40 even 50 percent margins.

The good news for Microsoft partners is that $39 is so inexpensive, it could spark a sales surge. The bad news is that 10 percent now-and-forever on $39 per user per month may not float a lot of partners’ boats.

Still, realistic solution providers are resigned to the reality of declining margins on software license sales and work to differentiate themselves on customization, adding vertical capabilities and other value.

In addition, Microsoft is pledging $20 million more to help existing partner organizations grow their capacity, said Barb Edson, director of Dynamics marketing.

That money is earmarked for training and recruiting employees for existing Microsoft Business Solutions partners. Microsoft has taken some hit for trying to broaden distribution of its MBS lineup at the expense of existing partners and this is designed to remedy that

The goal is to add 1,000 new employees to partner organizations globally, Edson said.

And, in other programmatic news, Microsoft launched a “Certified for Microsoft Dynamics” certification. ISVs who certify their MBS Dynamics-based applications can get up to $10,000 from Microsoft.

It's True: Longhorn Awaits Next SQL Server/Visual Studio Releases

Folks discounted an earlier report that Microsoft would sync up its gigantic Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio Server 2008 but that’s exactly what it’s going to do.

That’s the word from Microsoft COO Kevin Turner, speaking at today’s Worldwide Partner Conference kickoff keynote in Denver.

Turner called this the biggest product rollout in company history.

Microsoft had promised to release Windows Server 2008 (aka Longhorn) to manufacturing by year’s end, opening the way for what some partners call a slip in the long-in-the-works server operating system.

The main big-bang event will be in Los Angeles February 27 with many more regional events planned.


Partner reaction to the earlier report was decidedly mixed, with one database specialist bemoaning the impact of earlier synched releases on product shipments