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"We see that big upgrade opportunity for Windows 8, Office 2013 and Office 365," Bates said. "We want to make sure we bring everything together to help partners find new customers, and that they are selling successfully and being rewarded for that. We want to pull everything together to make it easier to find what partners need."
Microsoft started a Beyond Easy website for partners to access resources in terms of finding, selling and getting rewarded for selling not just Windows 8, but Office 365 and more, Bates said.
"First is, what can we do to help customers start the conversation focused on the upgrade opportunity? For partners with any existing Open customers, they can request a workbook that includes what version the customers have," Bates said.
Microsoft has also started a "web syndication" program for partners, in which solution providers can obtain a code and any traffic to the solution provider's website that drives downloads for Office 365, the VAR gets registered as the partner of record.
"That's a great opportunity for partners to not only easily bring up-to-date content, but to ensure they direct customers to their site and that they're connected into that," Bates said.
Microsoft also has a promotion to send out unsolicited sales proposals to customers promoting the "modern desktop," in which VARs get the first 500 proposals for free, Bates said.
In the Q&A, Reller dismissed the idea that Windows 8 has disappointed due to "the PC's demise." In the first quarter, PC sales suffered their steepest year-over-year decline ever, according to IDC.
"The PC part of the market is rapidly evolving to include new convertible devices and amazing new touch laptops, and all-in-ones. These new PCs are hitting the market now and into the Back-to-School season, and they are more affordable than ever," Reller said.
Microsoft's Bates added that Windows 8 launched without a full complement of devices to support its features, something that is more in place today.
"There were not as many a variety of devices that we needed and wanted to show off the full capability of Win 8. That continues to march forward. In Tami's [Q&A], she talks about having 2,400 devices now certified. The opportunity for partners is there," Bates said.
PUBLISHED ON MAY 7, 2013