WPC 2013 and the Windows 8 Partner Opportunity

Over the past year, I’ve spoken with many businesses and have discussed their plans for Windows 8 and Windows 8 devices. It’s really great to see the growing interest from customers, and both large and small businesses tell us that they are planning to adopt Windows 8 devices in their companies for a variety of reasons – some are eager to make their operations more mobile with tablet form factors, some are developing modern apps to improve their customer or employee experience, others are drawn to the broad array of enterprise benefits from security to DirectAccess, to new mobile scenarios with Windows To Go, to enterprise-level management.

Whatever the reason, we continue to see growing enthusiasm for what Windows 8 can offer. This excitement, in turn, creates opportunity for our partners to build products and services for Windows 8 that can help grow their own businesses.

Worldwide Partner Conference 2013

Beginning today, I have the opportunity of speaking with our partners in Houston at the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC). My talk follows the opening keynote by Tami Reller, Windows Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer, who emphasized the business opportunity with Windows 8.1 as well as Microsoft’s commitment to working with our partners to deliver a broad range of devices, apps and services for customers. She also shared that there are more than 20 million enterprise evaluations of Windows 8 to date and RTM will be made available to OEMs in late August.

With the release of Windows 8.1 Preview at the Build developer conference last month, this new update gives partners even more robust tools and features to build on and sell to their customers. Windows 8.1 includes a broad range of new business enhancements in user experience, and improvements in manageability, security, mobility and networking, providing customers with the best business tablets and great PC choices across all device form factors.

Now that Windows 8.1 Preview is available, partners can take advantage of these new features when building their own solutions to deliver greater value to their customers. To encourage partners and customers to test Windows 8.1, we are offering attendees Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview during select sessions at WPC, with bits available to download through TechNet in the coming weeks.

The Partner Opportunity with Windows 8

The investment each of these partners makes by developing services offerings, new innovative apps, or hardware and integration solutions for Windows 8 is a key reason why the OS has sold more than 100 million licenses to date and has passed 100,000 apps in the Microsoft Store in the past eight months since launch. These are huge milestones and show tremendous growth potential and market opportunity for our partners in the year ahead.

  • Tablet share is growing rapidly, especially for business users. Businesses are asking for no compromise tablets with consumer benefits along with the security, productivity, mobility and management features they need. Windows 8 is the best tablet for business!
  • New device categories such as Ultrabooks and convertibles are emerging. As work changes, companies require new devices to meet their evolving business models; Windows 8 enables a new generation of hardware experiences, delivering partners the most comprehensive choice of devices for their customers.
  • Windows XP is going out of support next April. While most large enterprises have either completed their migration to Windows 7 or are on the path to migrate to Windows 7 or 8. However, nearly 30 percent of small and mid-market customers worldwide still have portions or all of their company running Windows XP. This represents a huge opportunity for partners to help move people off Windows XP and onto a modern operating system. Let’s get the message out, it’s time to switch!
  • Mobile app development is a growing investment area for businesses. According to a recent Forrester report, mobile initiatives are the leading area of investment for 2013: “61% of firms have either implemented or plan to implement mobile apps (up from 55% in Q2 2012), and 41% are at this point for enterprise apps stores (up from 35% in Q2 2012)”.* Many of our partners are jumping on this trend and developing customized line of business apps for customers on Windows 8.

Current Windows 8 Partners

Now is the time, as Windows 8 gains momentum and Windows XP end of support looms, for partners to bet on the platform. In this context we are excited about the investment HP is making in helping customers to migrate off Windows XP, to a modern Windows experience.

HP’s technology portfolio spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure. Today at WPC, HP announced a tightly integrated approach with Microsoft to help customers transition from Windows XP to a modern version of Windows. Not only does the partner offer business desktops, notebooks and all-in-ones optimized for Windows 7 and Windows 8, but it also sets partners and customers up with resources, training tools and professional guides to make migrations easier. Additionally, HP and Microsoft will offer WPC attendees a special price for the ElitePad. Visit www.hp.com/goodbyeXP to learn more.

Below are additional partners that are with us at WPC, sharing their own experiences of how they have created innovative solutions with Windows 8, and have successfully marketed it and sold it to customers eager to tap into the benefits of OS.

  • Data#3 is the Microsoft Devices and Deployment Partner of the Year for 2013. This great partner is currently working with Microsoft and the Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment (DETE) to deploy Windows 8 and Office across traditional PC, laptop and tablet devices. Data#3’s Business Productivity Services (BPS) team facilitated multiple Microsoft Customer Immersion Experiences with hundreds of customer stakeholders, such as those from the Department, to help them understand the potential of Microsoft’s technology. The partner’s BPS team has measured that customer staff involved in a production pilot are up to five percent more productive than staff using the Windows 7 interface. Data#3 also deployed Windows 8 broadly at its own organization so that its highly mobile workforce could benefit from the operating system’s features, various hardware form factors and Office 2013.
  • Posh is the Windows 8 App Developer Partner of the Year for 2013. The e-Text Library System that Posh developed for the State of Qatar provides anywhere access to e-learning and e-textbooks for students and teachers. Currently deployed on hundreds of Windows 8 devices with plans to extend to 200,000 student devices, Posh’s app is a key component of one of the largest e-learning initiatives in the Middle East.
  • Wortell is a System Integrator focusing on productivity solutions based on the Microsoft platform. The company specializes in empowering customers through solutions like Microsoft Office, SharePoint, Lync and Yammer. Wortell has also adopted Windows 8 as their platform for delivering integrated productivity solutions. They have helped over 40 customers with implementing Windows 8 tablets in their organizations. To boost productivity, Wortell leverages the Windows 8 platform with Windows 8 apps to help enable the Microsoft-stack of solutions and customers’ line of business applications.

Windows 8 was designed with the modern, mobile business world in mind; it is the foundation that business can build their operations upon from end-to-end, across a variety of devices, locations and users. We hope our partners will continue to use their creativity to build on Windows 8 and deliver great value to their customers. We’re grateful for their ongoing collaboration to bring the benefits of next generation computing to the enterprise and hope they will continue to bet on Windows 8 in the next year.

* Forrsights: IT Budgets And Priorities In 2013, Forrester Research, Inc., April 25, 2013.