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     Microsoft Minneapolis Partner Conference 2005 Summary Notes
    Here are some notes from Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference at the Minneapolis Convention Center over the weekend of July 9-11, 2005 (see The conference started on Thursday and went through Sunday afternoon. Needless to say there was a very healthy dose of propaganda from Microsoft. Overall it was a good conference as things are always changing with Microsoft. Steve Balmer's presentation alone was worth the price of admission. The conference had about 10,000 people in attendance (6,500 partners and 3,500 Microsoft employees). Over half the partners were from outside the United States. Anyway, here are a few of the conference highlights:

    • The Partner Program is changing again to include new competencies. This may be good for some partners because they have a new Custom Development competency. In addition to the Information Worker competency, this new program will give a company more opportunities to display its skills in Microsoft solution delivery.
    • The Microsoft Certification program is changing to include new paths for almost all certifications. They will have basic and specialty exams that test technical ability around various roles. For example, the SQL Server 2005 will have a basic exam that will test your base knowledge of relational database design and the SQL Server 2005 product. In addition to this, there will be tests for DBA's, Developers, and Business Intelligence focuses. The new program won't be released until later this year. Upgrade paths from the current certifications will be provided. Upgrading from the current .Net MCSD certification to the new Professional Developer certification on .Net 2.0 will require only two exams.
    • Microsoft is heavily pushing the Information Worker competency, and they're investing heavily in marketing around the release of Office 12 for next year. SharePoint continues to be a big push as the fastest growing product in Microsoft's history.
    • SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005, and BizTalk 2006 will be released in November. This is the major event for 2005, so you can expect tons of marketing around this.
    • Visual Studio 2005 Team System is being positioned as a Rational competitor to compete with IBM's Rational suite of tools. It includes project management and testing tools for teams developing enterprise solutions.
    • Microsoft views IBM as their primary competitor, and they strongly feel they can beat IBM in almost any area. They're supplying sales and marketing resources and assistance to help win any competitive situations where they're competing with IBM.
    • Microsoft CRM 3.0 will be released soon, which looks to be an impressive CRM product. This product integrates extremely well with Outlook and other Microsoft collaborative tools. It may be a good option for many partners.
    • Longhorn development continues and should be released late in 2006, much to the dismay of companies that sell Windows licenses. Many of these partners displayed concern that there's no new upgrades to sell until Longhorn and Office 12 are released.
    • According to Microsoft, the .Net platform is now the most popular development platform in the world. There are supposedly more people doing .Net development than Java development. Independent marketing firms supplied the data for this, so it may be a valid claim.
    • SQL Server is outselling Oracle and DB2 combined. This includes the enterprise space for large databases. Windows Server 2003 continues to do well. Microsoft is pushing upgrades from Novell and older Windows platforms.
    • Microsoft's security efforts are paying off as the Windows Server 2003 product is having much fewer security issues than Linux Server. Longhorn is expected to be much more secure due to Microsoft's new development process.
    • Self paced training on SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 can be found at This will cease to exist when the products are released so Microsoft won't compete with their training partners. SQL's e-learning site is here:
    • Microsoft had a strong year financially and should be releasing strong financial results for their 2005 fiscal year shortly. Microsoft thanked their partners up and down for helping them succeed and vowed to help their partners continue to succeed into the future.
    Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 @ 14:09:48 UTC by BB
    "Microsoft Minneapolis Partner Conference 2005 Summary Notes" | Login/Create an Account | 1 comment
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    Minneapolis Convention Center (Score: 1)
    by BB on Sunday, September 25, 2005 @ 19:34:09 UTC
    (User Info )
    According to an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on September 25th, the 10,000 attendees set a record for food and beverage sales.

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