Microsoft focuses partners on the cloud

This week’s Microsoft partner conference, Inspire, turned into a cloudy event.

Chief executive officer Satya Nadella kicked things off by talking about the role Microsoft Cloud is playing in partner success and celebrating its progress so far before launching into a series of mainly cloud-related announcements.

photo of satya nadella
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

“Our ambition is to foster foundational innovation that creates entire ecosystems even greater than the platforms themselves. That’s what the Microsoft Cloud uniquely enables,” he said during his keynote. “There is a circuit between Microsoft Cloud and your opportunity as our partners. If you’re an Azure partner today, you’re a Microsoft Cloud partner. If you’re a Microsoft 365 partner, you’re a Microsoft Cloud partner. If you’re a Dynamics 365 partner, you’re a Microsoft Cloud partner.”

“Today I want to talk about the differentiating aspects of the Microsoft Cloud. And I want to talk about how we’re going to go even further introducing new capabilities across the cloud to create entirely new technology categories and opportunities that will be critical to success for every organization.”


Nadella began by announcing that Microsoft Teams customers can now view and edit Microsoft Dynamics 365 data at no additional charge, without needing a Dynamics license.

“Regardless of whether they’re Dynamics 365 licensees, our ambition is to make it much easier for employees and external parties to share content and information and to create new opportunity for all of you,” he said.

He then moved on to describe opportunities with Microsoft’s employee experience cloud, Viva, encouraging partners to explore it. As an incentive, independent software vendors (ISVs) who are members of the Microsoft Partner Network and want to build and market Modern Workplace apps for Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Viva will receive access to Microsoft technology, curated training, one-on-one consultations and marketing resources.

Windows 11 got a brief mention, but the focus was on, guess what, the new Cloud PC, Windows 365. “With Windows 365, we are making Windows available not just on Windows devices, but any device, harnessing the power of the cloud,” Nadella said. “Just like applications were brought to the cloud with SaaS, we are now bringing the operating system to the cloud with Windows 365. With Windows 365, the operating system itself becomes hybrid, accessible on the device as well as in the cloud. Windows 365 provides organizations, whether they’re a business of one or 1,000, with greater flexibility and secure way to empower the workforce to be more productive and connected regardless of the location.”

Industry clouds

Microsoft’s five industry clouds (healthcare, retail, financial services, manufacturing, and nonprofits) have been bolstered by the addition of a sixth: Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability. “With the cloud for sustainability, we are bringing together capabilities across our cloud and creating an entirely new business process category to help every organization address this very urgent need,” Nadella said. “In the years to come. I believe digital capability building around sustainability will be perhaps as critical for businesses as CRM is for sales and DRP for finance today.”

Partners are key to the success of the industry clouds, he noted, and those clouds create opportunities for new revenue streams across the value chain.

Marketplace enhancements

In closing, Satya made one more batch of announcements, this time about the Marketplace. First, effective July 1, transaction fees across the Microsoft AppSource and Azure Marketplace digital storefronts have been reduced from 20 per cent to 3 per cent. Second, starting this fall, commercial marketplace publishers will be able to set one price for customers, and another for Microsoft Cloud Solution Providers (CSPs) of their choice, allowing them to provide a margin to CSP partners upfront and letting CSPs set their own prices for their customers. And finally, independent software vendors (ISVs) will not only also enjoy the reduced transaction fees but also be able to sell their applications directly to users in Microsoft Teams.

“This is our investment in your success, so you can invest more in your business and in your people,” Nadella said. “We want to be the best partner for our partners.”


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Lynn Greiner
Lynn Greiner
Lynn Greiner has been interpreting tech for businesses for over 20 years and has worked in the industry as well as writing about it, giving her a unique perspective into the issues companies face. She has both IT credentials and a business degree

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