ORLANDO – For the third time, Microsoft is bringing its Worldwide Partner Conference north to Canada announcing that Toronto will once again host WPC in 2016, from July 10 to 14.
Usually announced at the end of the final day of keynotes, the venue for next year’s WPC was announced this year at the end of the first day of keynotes, by former Microsoft Canada boss and current worldwide channel chief Phil Sorgen. Toronto also hosted WPC in 2004 and 2012.
The last time Microsoft brought WPC to Canada, the event was the debut for then-Microsoft Canada chief Max Long, and saw the introduction of former Compugen executive Greg Lardner as channel chief. At the event, the company introduced the long-requested (or perhaps demanded) Office 365 Open model, and set a release date for Windows 8.
While the 2012 instance of WPC in Toronto has been feted as one of the best WPCs ever, the story of the show’s first appearance in Toronto was an interesting and twisting tale. The company was headed for The Big Smoke for the 2003 edition of its Fusion event, but hastily changed in the spring of 2003 due to the outbreak of SARS in the city. The show was moved to New Orleans’ sprawling Morial Convention Center for that year and held in October as opposed to its usual summer date. That was also the first year that Microsoft integrated its major partner-centric shows into a single conference.
Microsoft made good on its promise to come to Toronto, though, the next year, after the city had been given a clean bill of health, bringing the combined July WPC that Microsoft partners have come to know ever since to Toronto.
The 2012 event had a much smoother path from announcement to delivery, but was widely celebrated. Microsoft Canada channel chief Jay Brommet said his goal is to outdo that event.
“I’d love for us to have thousands of Canadian partners in Toronto at WPC,” he said. “My goal is to get the broadest participation of this ecosystem as possible.”
That participation may go beyond the current four walls of the Microsoft Partner Network. Brommet suggested that “the doors were very much open” for Canadian solution providers who are not currently working closely with Microsoft to check out WPC and see if there’s an opportunity to get on board.
“The doors are wide open,” Brommet said.