Microsoft WPC Notebook: Imitating IBM, Max Long on crutches and raising money for a good cause

HOUSTONMicrosoft‘s Worldwide Partner Conference wrapped up in Houston on Thursday with the regional keynotes — next stop, Washington DC in July 2014. Thursday was the regional keynotes, and I have a report on Microsoft Canada’s focus and outlook for fiscal 2014 and a Q&A with Canadian subsidiary leaders Max Long and Dennis Cerasoli. And here’s a few more notes and notes that didn’t make it into my news coverage.

MICROSOFT MIRRORS IBM: During Wednesday’s mainstage keynotes, Microsoft put Laura Ipsen, its corporate vice-president of worldwide public sector, on centre stage to talk about CityNext. It’s Microsoft’s new cities-focused initiative that’s all about using technology to empower citizens, cities and business.

“It’s not that we haven’t been working in cities already, we have a huge footprint,” said Ipsen. “We’ve been working with many of you in cities to do transformational work. But today it’s really about moving beyond technology capacity to human capacity.”

All the messaging makes all kinds of sense. Of course, it’s also all kinds of familiar, because it’s strikingly reminiscent of Smarter Cities, IBM’s similar better cities messaging it has been pushing for some time now as part of its wider Smarter Planet imitative. Anyway, lots of love for the cities from the major technology vendors these days. And rightly so, because we’re fantastic.

Microsoft worldwide channel chief Jon Roskill also spent time talking about the need for partners to shift to selling to line of business leaders such as the chief marketing officer, who have their own budgets and are increasingly driving ICT spend, particularly on cloud-based tools. It’s again reminiscent of messaging I first heard from IBM at least two years ago. And it’s also very true; IT is often being disinter-mediated by line of business today, or is no longer the primary decision maker, so partners need to adjust how they sell.

Jon Roskill (left) and Julie Parrish (right) present cheques to a representative of charity OneXOne.
Jon Roskill (left) and Julie Parrish (right) present cheques to a representative of charity OneXOne.

IAMCP RAISES MONEY FOR CHARITY: This is the second year that the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) has made its annual Women in Technology lunch at WPC a charity fundraiser. And again this year, the beneficiary was OneXOne, a Toronto charity active both in North America with breakfast programs, as well as in Haiti and Africa.

The event was sold out with NetApp CMO Julie Parrish delivering an inspiring keynote, and NetApp and Microsoft each made $5000 donations to OneXOne. IAMCP’s Gail Mercer-MacKay said close to $16,000 in total was raised at the conference and she’s confident they’ll hit their $20,000 goal as attendees head home and donate online.

(From left) Max Long is welcomes to the stage by Greg Lardner and Denis Cerasoli.
(From left) Max Long is welcomes to the stage by Greg Lardner and Dennis Cerasoli.

WHY IS MAX LONG ON CRUTCHES?: Microsoft Canada president Max Long hobbled into Thursday’s Canadian regional keynote on crutches. And new SMS&P VP Denis Cerasoli nearly joined him after taking a bit of a tumble on his way up the stairs. Thankfully, he recovered.

But how did Long end up on crutches? He offered three possible scenarios to Canadian partners, with one of them being correct: he either got too much into the hip-swaying at the Lenny Kravitz concert at the previous night’s partner party, was squeezed too hard on margins by Tech Data Canada, or took a tumble on an obstacle course. We’ll leave it to you to suss out the true story (we’re guessing it’s the margins).

WINDOWS 8 FOR THE NEXT GENERATION: Canadian channel chief Greg Lardner performed a little Windows 8 experiment when it came out, with his family as unwitting guinea pigs. He installed Windows 8 on the family PC one day,didn’t tell them, and waited to see what happened.

He quickly heard from his wife who wanted to know what the heck had happened; after he walked her through it and showed her the ropes, she adapted pretty quickly.

His young daughters though never said a word; they immediately adapted without a peep.

Hmm, but what did they think of Vista?

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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