US Partner News for Friday, August 16, 2013

imageWelcome to this week’s issue of the US Partner News! You’ll now find the US Partner News here every Friday. You can come directly to just the newsletter posts at, and you can subscribe to receive all our blog posts with your email address (go to, and you’ll see this option under “Subscribe and follow,” on the right).

Top Stories

Earn More on Eligible Sales of Microsoft Open License Agreements with the US VAR Rebate
Take a few minutes today to sign up for the current VAR Rebate (July 1 through December 31) so your company does not miss out on the opportunity to earn up to 22% on eligible sales of Microsoft Open License agreements. Enroll by September 6 to participate.

imageWindows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 General Availability in October
On the Blogging Windows blog, Brandon LeBlanc gives details about the general availability release of Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1, coming in October. Download the preview.

The Next Releases of Windows Server, Microsoft System Center, and Windows Intune are Coming in October
Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft System Center 2012 R2, and the next Windows Intune update will be available starting October 18. On the In the Cloud blog, Brad Anderson talks about these releases and recommends downloading the previews now.

SalesSpecialistNew Sales Accreditations Coming this Year
The Microsoft Sales Specialist and Microsoft Presales Specialist programs continue to evolve. Find out what new accreditations for each will be coming in the next 12 months, what’s being refreshed, and how accreditations benefit your business.

imageRegister Early for WPC 2014 in Washington, DC, and Save
Next year’s Worldwide Partner Conference is in Washington, DC, from July 13–17. For a limited time, you can register early for your all-access pass and get a special price of $1,695.


Microsoft Partner Network Disclosure Guide – Redesign of the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription
A new version of the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription (MAPS) is coming later this year. It will be a universal subscription with resources and benefits for partners emphasizing Microsoft Cloud Services and serving small and mid-market customers. The new MAPS will include six resource centers, aligned to partner business models. Read more about the MAPS changes in the downloadable disclosure guide.

imageHelp SMB Customers Move to the Modern Desktop with Windows 8.1 and Office
It’s time for your customers to retire Windows XP and Office 2003, which reach end of support on April 8, 2014. Your customers deserve more mobility, connectivity, and security. Use the materials in the Get Modern with Windows 8.1 and Office campaign to help you talk to your customers and prospects about Windows 8.1 and Office 365.

Maximize Your MPN Membership with Your Benefits Summary
Your MPN membership includes benefits to help you build your business, generate demand, increase sales, and retain customers. Are you using everything that’s available to you? Your benefits summary can help you plan how to use your membership benefits. Sign in to the portal to download your company’s statement.

imageDeliver Top-Quality Microsoft Office 365 Support
These resources will help you provide world-class customer support for Microsoft Office 365 and continually improve your overall support delivery, including service administration, deployment and implementation, and troubleshooting.


August Hot Sheet – Find and Register for Upcoming Training
The Hot Sheet is a frequently updated schedule of live virtual and in-person training and informational calls that are coming in the next few weeks. Subscribe to the US Partner Learning blog to receive the Hot Sheet as soon as it’s published—the September issue will be available early next week.

BacktoSchool_Green_150x161Back to School Training Sweepstakes
Enter to win a $120 Amazon gift card when you take featured Microsoft Lync, Windows 8, or Windows Azure training. You will automatically receive an entry into the drawing for each course you complete from our list of eligible courses. Sweepstakes ends October 4. Official rules.

Increase Your Windows Server 2012 Knowledge for a Chance to Win a Surface Pro
Watch Windows Server 2012 on-demand webcasts, through August 31, and be entered into a random drawing to win a Surface Pro in our sweepstakes. For each session you watch you’ll earn one more entry, with a potential of earning eight entries per partner. Contest ends August 31. Official rules.

imageFollow Our Plan to Get Cloud Certification in 90 Days
The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification validates your foundation of core technical skills and prepares you for a sustainable IT career. To help you get there, sign up for the 90 Days to MCSA program, a plan of action with a focus on Windows Server and SQL Server. The plan gives you a clear roadmap, tools and community support, all designed to help you achieve your MCSA goal at a pace that works.

Register for the September 24 Microsoft Dynamics Hour Call (PartnerSource)
During Microsoft Dynamics Hour, you have the opportunity to hear experts cover 1-2 operational topics in depth. The next Dynamics Hour call on September 24, for important updates regarding Microsoft SQL Server.


imageCalendar Through August 30

This list provides a sampling of upcoming partner calls, training, and events for the next two weeks. Refer to the latest Hot Sheet for a comprehensive list for the next six weeks that’s frequently updated.

August 19 – Practice Accelerator for Windows 8 (Flexible Workstyle)

August 21 – Chalk Talk: OAuth and Application Identity in SharePoint 2013

August 21 – Gaming Engines for Windows 8 Jump Start 

August 22 – Cloud 1-2-3: Jumpstart Your Office 365 Practice (Part 2)

August 23 – Chalk Talk: Methodology and Migrating Scenario from VMware to Windows Server Hyper-V

August 26 – Practice Accelerator for Business Intelligence (Windows Server, SQL Server, SharePoint)

August 27 – MVA Live Q & A for Windows Azure

August 29 – Cloud 1-2-3: Office 365 Open Licensing, You Bill, We Deliver

August 30 – Chalk Talk: Office 365 Service Upgrade for 2013 

Featured Video

Watch this video from WPC 2013 featuring Microsoft partner, BlueMetal Architects, and find out how they are able to offer their customers solutions that meet their needs with Windows 8. “The main thing the Windows 8 platform offers…is integration with older, enterprise legacy software, and you can integrate those beautiful, modern UI applications along with those legacy applications, for a really great experience.”


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