Microsoft is throwing open the doors for its summertime super-conference in Toronto a little early.
In a blog post, Karl Noakes, general manager of worldwide partner strategy and programs at Microsoft, announced registration for July’s Worldwide Partner Conference will go live today (Feb. 28) at 1:00 pm Eastern, 10:00 am Pacific.
That’s four weeks earlier than last year’s registration opening, Noakes notes.
“I’m personally excited by the plans in place for WPC 2012 as well as the setting, the cosmopolitan city of Toronto,” Noakes writes. “The WPC Business Owner team has been laboring for months to make this the most exceptional WPC yet.”
Jon me after the jump for some more thoughts on WPC in Toronto, as well as a bit of a trip down memory lane to the issues the channel was facing when last Microsoft brought its partner community to Toronto.
I’ve previously written about how the 2003 SARS outbreak in Toronto was indirectly responsible for creating the event now today known as WPC.
And I chatted on the ChannelBuzz.ca Podcast with Microsoft Canada president Eric Gales about the Canadian organization’s plans to make this year’s biggest and best WPC in history.
And in the near future, you can bet I’ll be checking in with the Microsoft Canada team on how those preparations are coming.
But the anticipation of WPC coming back to Toronto has me thinking about just what was on the agenda last time WPC was in town. I may not have been writing for ChannelBuzz.ca back then, but thanks to the long memory of the Internet, I do remember what I was writing about:
- Former Microsoft Canada chief Simon Witts shared Microsoft’s enterprise priorities, which included the arrival of 64-bit computing in the mainstream, while Orlando Ayala shared SMB goals.
- Then new Microsoft channel chief Allison Watson promised to increase the company’s investment in its channel programs.
- The company pledged to make its channel partners more visible in its advertising campaigns. That was a promise made by then sales and marketing chief Kevin Johnson – now better known as the CEO of Juniper Networks.
- In his inimitable and explosive style, CEO Steve Ballmer pointed partners towards and “under-served” SMB market, as well as targeting rivals Novell, Lotus and Linux.
- On the product side, Microsoft introduced Windows Marketplace and opened up Media Center to system builder partners, but delayed launch of a key patch automation tool for IT.
All in all, it was a pretty eventful Worldwide Partner Conference.
What will Microsoft have in store to make WPC 2012 even more eventful? Well, of course the company’s not going to tip its hand too far at this point, but with summer timing of WPC means we’ll probably hear the drum banged pretty strong for the expected fall launch of Windows 8.
This will be Microsoft’s last chance before the big launch to get together with a few thousand of its best allies, so chances are, Redmond will have a lot planned for its stay in Toronto.
And of course, we’ll be there to bring you all the news, both as it happens and after the fact.
I’m looking forward to it.