A reporter's notebook can get pretty stuffed trying to keep up with all the happenings at a Microsoft conference, and the Worldwide Partner Conference is one of the most frenetic on the schedule. Cloud computing dominated this year's WPC, but there were plenty of other storylines, and here are 15 examples.
1. Allison Watson's Emotional Farewell -- Microsoft Channel Chief Allison Watson's voice was at times heavy with emotion as she bade farewell to partners in her final WPC address. After eight years that included two channel program revamps and countless long haul flights, partner meetings, strategy sessions, high fives and funny marketing video shoots, Watson is moving to the business side of the house. Judging from the hearty applause that accompanied a Watson tribute video shown at WPC, partners were equally misty-eyed at her departure.
2. Microsoft Chops 'Network' From Microsoft Partner Network -- The new Microsoft Partner Network goes into effect in October, but Microsoft has already seen fit to drop "Network" from the program logo partners will display. “Microsoft partners are that, partners. They themselves aren’t networks,” new channel chief Jon Roskill told WPC attendees.
3. The Post-World Cup Glow -- Microsoft couldn’t have scripted a better opening act than to have WPC kick off the day after Spain defeated the Netherlands to win the 2010 World Cup. The Netherlands' contingent outnumbered Spain's by 500 attendees to 125, and the entire gathering of 9,000 partners gave the Verizon Center a buzz that no number of vuvuzelas could replicate.
4. Muglia's Vivid Imagery -- In his WPC keynote, Microsoft Server and Tools Business President Bob Muglia described meeting with a group of CIOs who expressed their fatigue and frustration with the never ending stream of Microsoft software upgrades.
"I felt like a sheep lost in pack of wolves," Muglia said wryly. "They said 'Bob, you don’t get it, we don’t want another upgrade from Microsoft ever again. We want this as a service, and we want you to take this on'. That’s what cloud computing is all about."
5. New Channel Chief Roskill's Perambulations -- Jon Roskill, Microsoft's new vice president of worldwide channels, was everywhere during the WPC keynote sessions: handing out awards, leading partners in song, and sitting the audience conducting interviews with partners. Roskill has many international trips on tap in his new position, but he's already logged at least a few dozen miles on foot at WPC.
6. Windows AzORE? -- C'mon folks, it's been a year and a half since Microsoft unveiled Windows Azure. And yet, some Microsoft partners are still mispronouncing the name. This happened several times at WPC as it has at previous Microsoft events. And this isn't a "You say tomAYto, I say tomAHto' situation: Windows AzHERR is the right pronunciation, according to Merriam-Webster.
7. What Is Up With 'All Up'? -- Does any company use the term "all up" more than Microsoft? Rhetorical question, of course. Microsoft executives used it approximately 437 times at WPC, and Frank Shaw, Microsoft's vice president of corporate communications, used it three times all up in his "Microsoft By The Numbers" e-mail to employees last month. See, it's contagious.
Next: Microsoft's Consumer Message At WPC8.