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Microsoft WPC: 10 Issues Ballmer & Co. Must Address

With 15,000 partners expected in Toronto next week for the Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft executives have an opportunity to respond to what's uppermost in partners' minds.

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The Channel Role In Microsoft's Cloud Strategy

Microsoft has been steadily pushing its way into the cloud with such products as Office 365, Dynamics CRM Online and Windows Intune. While Microsoft has touted the partner opportunities for some cloud products such as Intune, just how the channel fits into other aspects of the Microsoft cloud vision have been hazy.

Take, for example, Office 365, the cloud version of Microsoft's desktop application suite. While partners can develop services around Office 365, Microsoft has angered some partners by controlling the billing for the on-demand service.

Combined with other slights -- perceived or otherwise -- some partners are questioning whether Microsoft is finding ways to go around the channel and work directly with customers. Spelling out what Microsoft's cloud direction means for channel partners would go a long way toward allaying those concerns.

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