CRN Podcast: Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference Preview

That will be the challenge for Microsoft at its Worldwide Partner Conference, which kicks off next week. There's certainly no shortage of compelling topics, pressing issues and big questions for Steve Ballmer and Company, making this one of the most exciting and pivotal times in Microsoft's long and distinguished history.

Consider the company's recent cloud push with Office 365, which puts its market leading Office applications in the cloud, not to mention the Windows Azure cloud platform. While Office 365 has gotten positive feedback so far, Microsoft's track record with new products has been spotty lately.

Speaking of cloud computing, Microsoft's battle for cloud supremacy with Google is bound to be a hot topic at the event, at least among Microsoft VARs. The two companies and their respective reseller partners have been ratcheting up the competitive rhetoric as Office 365 gears up to go head-to-head with Google Apps.

Then there's Microsoft's mammoth acquisition of Skype; partners will no doubt be wondering how the vendor plans on integrating Skype's messaging and video chat services into Microsoft's product portfolio, not mention how they'll make money off of a predominately free service.

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And last but not least, there's Windows 8; Microsoft will surely get a lot of inquiries about the next version of Windows, which is scheduled to arrive next year and designed to be more tablet friendly.

Is Ballmer on the hot seat? Can Microsoft's mobile strategy make a comeback? And is Office 365 poised going to be the savior the company needs for cloud domination? CRN's Rob Wright and Rick Whiting discuss those topics and more in the latest edition of CRN's Podcast.

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