So many of you have emailed me to ask about my impression of what was said and done at Microsoft WPC that I have to make this brief post about it. If you ever have a question, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
First of all, the attendance. I wasn’t there so I can’t speak to the count of people that Microsoft says was on hand. My staff (we sponsored Microsoft WPC and were there as huge Microsoft fans) was there at a booth and mentioned to me that we had a lot of foreign audience – so I see no reason to doubt the numbers and I don’t think that really matters as far as the big picture is concerned. I know many of you feel like WPC is a waste of time for a small business and that there is no ROI to it. And you’re wrong. And perhaps Microsoft would put in more SMB tracks if there was more SMB interest in working with Microsoft. It’s a causality loop – and I’m not playing the devils advocate here just pointing out the common business sense – you have to spend your money with Microsoft to make them care about you, not the other way around.
Second, Office 365. No big surprises there. But suffice to say if you’re not doing this, your clients are being marketed to and you’ll soon be pushed out of those accounts if you don’t have an offering.
Third, Apple. Every year Microsoft shows it’s remarkably low level of class when it addresses whoever is pissing them off at the time – be it IBM, Oracle, VMWare, etc – and they seem blissfully ignorant of the fact that the audience is not their staff and is not brainwashed to believe that Microsoft is the only technology capable of making money on the planet. Same mentality exists at Apple but at this point Microsoft is doing more than just shamelessly copying Apple products poorly – they are going after their business model too.
I tweeted recently that when you see the flamboyant loudmouth (CEO, Ballmer) of the company say the exact same thing as the guy running the company (COO, Turner) there should be no doubt where the company is heading.
It is what it is.
Microsoft doesn’t need partners in a sense where partners are a part of the solution. It needs partners in a sense of partners being a part of completing the transaction.
This is a major change since the days of technical complexity requiring a geek – the world is changing to the one that is decidedly geek free. It’s not there yet but it will get there eventually.
The decision for IT Solution Providers seems quite clear: Are you providing a solution or are you making a sale? If it’s the later there needs to be a clear and major distance between you and the Microsoft brand.