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Hundreds of Microsoft channel partners resell the on-premise versions of the Dynamics ERP applications, and more than 200 provide hosted versions of those products on a "private cloud" basis, Tatarinov said in a press conference following his keynote. "And they are doing incredibly well."
Because they are SMB products, the Dynamics GP and NAV cloud services will be sold only through channel partners, although they will be running in Microsoft data centers.
"The engagement does not change," Tatarinov said, noting that channel partners will still own the customer relationship.
Microsoft already offers both on-premise and cloud versions of its Dynamics CRM applications. While the cloud edition debuted in December 2007, it was available only in the U.S. and a few other markets: Microsoft began offering Dynamics CRM Online on a worldwide basis just last year.
Tatarinov said Microsoft is making progress on its vow to speed up the pace of new releases of its ERP applications. Microsoft has been putting out new releases of Dynamics CRM and Dynamics CRM Online about every six months to better compete with cloud software rivals such as Salesforce that regularly update their offerings. The goal is to get closer to that release schedule with some of Microsoft's ERP applications: In the past Microsoft has released major updates to its ERP applications about every three years.
In a press briefing Daniel Brown, general manager of Dynamics NAV, said the company is now on an annual release timetable for that product.
In his portion of the morning session, Turner ran through what he sees as the major trends in IT including cloud computing, exploding volumes of "big data," social computing, the consumerization of IT, ubiquitous connectivity, and a new generation of user interfaces.
He also made a pitch for the upcoming Windows 8, calling it "enterprise-ready and consumer friendly" and -- because of its ability to run on both x86 and ARM architectures -- "an operating system without compromise."