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On the competency side, Microsoft is combining several existing competencies: Portals and Collaboration, Content Management, and Search, into a single competency called Collaboration and Content.
"This focus makes much more sense," Roskill said of the new competency, which he said revolves around Microsoft's SharePoint software and is geared toward helping partners develop opportunities in social networking.
Microsoft is likewise merging the ISV, Software Development and Web Development competencies into a single Application Development competency. Roskill said that would help partners capitalize on development opportunities across the vendor's Windows Client, Windows Server, Windows Phone and cloud development environments, particularly in relation to the growing need for big data applications.
And the Desktop competency is evolving to become the Devices and Deployment competency in recognition of how quickly tablet computers and smartphones have become a part of today's IT environments.
Roskill said the MPN updates "delivered" on plans he and other Microsoft executives outlined at WPC. "The easier we make it for partners, the higher level of satisfaction they have with the program," he said.
The channel chief also hinted at another cloud-related partner program that Microsoft will unveil before the end of the year, but he declined to say more. He did say that Office 365 Open, a program unveiled at WPC that will allow channel partners to handle billing for the cloud application service, would start in the first calendar quarter of 2013.
PUBLISHED NOV. 28, 2012