Below are all the items we published in this week’s U.S. partner newsletter, delivered to U.S.-based members of the Microsoft Partner Network earlier today. If you feel that the version you received in email, targeted to you according to your company’s partner profile and your role at your company, is missing something critical from this superset, please let me know by commenting here or sending me an e-mail (partnerQ@microsoft.com).

In this post, you will find four sections of content:

  • Local Recommendations – Our U.S. East, Central, and West Regions can help you close business, and share their favorite resources.
  • Partner News – Information about Partner Network membership and partner-related campaigns, promotions, and opportunities.
  • Training Recommendations – Links to the latest training opportunities (many of them low-cost and no-cost).
  • Role-Based Training – Our recommendations about a specific product or topic; this week: Virtualization.

For more partner news, resources, and recommendations, visit us on the U.S. partner portal and Virtual Partner Concierge, and join the U.S. Partner Community on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Cheers,

Diane Golshan
Sr. Marketing Manager, U.S. Partner Team
Learn more about what I do at Microsoft.



Local Recommendations

Partner News

Important Information for "Legacy" Gold Certified and Certified Partners
The Software and Logo Benefit Extension extended to partners who were Gold Certified or Certified prior to the launch of the new Microsoft Partner Network expires on October 31, 2011. "Legacy" Gold Certified and Certified Partners need to discontinue using Microsoft Gold Certified and Certified logos and uninstall legacy software. More information is in our recent “Competency Updates” blog post.

Unified Communications Competency Split Takes Effect This Month
Responding to partner feedback, the Microsoft Partner Network is retiring the Unified Communications competency and launching two new competencies: the Messaging competency (Microsoft Exchange–focused) and the Communications competency (Microsoft Lync–focused).

New Management and Virtualization Competency to Come in May 2012
In May 2012 the Systems Management competency and Virtualization competency will merge to allow you to take better advantage of System Center and Hyper-V marketplace momentum and reduce the cost of attaining a competency.

Simplified Access to Microsoft Online Services Support for Partners 
Partner support for Microsoft cloud-based services like BPOS, Microsoft Office 365, Windows Intune is now available through the Regional Service Center, available by phone at 800-MPN-SOLVE (676-7658) or by email at mpnsolve@microsoft.com. If you have questions related to selling, deploying, or supporting Microsoft Online Services for your customers, partner-specific help is now easier to access.

Win More Windows Server, Virtualization, and Private Cloud Deployment Engagements
Want to open the door to migration engagements with Microsoft customers? Join the Private Cloud, Management, and Virtualization Deployment Planning Services program. Microsoft pays you to provide deployment planning services for customers.

Microsoft Security Bulletins for October Pre-Notification
As part of our usual cycle of security updates, Microsoft will release security bulletins on Tuesday, October 11. We are expecting to release eight security bulletins that address 23 vulnerabilities.

November 1: Virtualization and Management—Device to Data Center Briefing
Join us November 1 for a virtual briefing to learn how to increase IT agility for your customers while decreasing costs. Hear Microsoft experts and get information on solution scenarios for Windows devices, private cloud, and Microsoft System Center 2012.

Renew Before November 1 in the Microsoft Dynamics Software Advisor Program
To remain eligible and active in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Software Advisor (CSA) program, partners are required to agree to the terms and sign the new Microsoft Dynamics CSA Agreement no later than November 1.

Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step Online Launched
Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step Online is a standard implementation methodology and collection of tools and templates for all phases of engaging a Microsoft Dynamics customer. Using Sure Step can help you increase productivity, provide better project predictability, and improve your customers' satisfaction.

Microsoft Dynamics Sales Offers
New offers are available for new and existing Microsoft Dynamics customers. The complete list is in our Offer Summary Sheet that's published on PartnerSource (this site is available to Microsoft Dynamics partners only).

Social Media Solution for Microsoft Dynamics Partners
Microsoft is providing a steady stream of social media content for ERP and CRM customers across several industries through a comprehensive social media solution called Butterfly Publisher. For $125 per month, U.S. Microsoft Dynamics partners can use social media to listen to customers, engage in conversation, and track, measure, and run lead-generating campaigns.

Offer Your Customers Savings on Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and MSDN Subscriptions
With this new promotion, existing Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Studio 2010 users are eligible for a 35% discount on the price of Visual Studio 2010 Professional with MSDN or 15% off of the price of Visual Studio 2010 Premium with MSDN. Through their MSDN subscription, your customers will have access to valuable, comprehensive resources. Watch our on-demand webcast about this offer.

New Ready-To-Go Campaign for Windows Small Business Server 2011
Show your prospective small business customers how Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials can help them address their business challenges, and become their go-to resource for technology advice and purchases.

October 26: How to Take Best Advantage of Your Microsoft Pinpoint Profile
Each month, about 100,000 business customers visit Pinpoint to find a solution that meets their business needs, and one in four connects with a partner. In our webcast, you’ll learn how getting listed on Pinpoint can benefit your business.

The Big Easy Offer 7 for Qualifying Government Organizations
The Big Easy Offer 7 provides subsidy funds to eligible government customers who purchase one or more qualifying Microsoft products between September 19 and December 31 through the Open License for Government, Open Value for Government (except Level C), and Open Value Subscription for Government (except Level C).

Microsoft Action Pack Subscription Renewal Sweepstakes
Don't let your Action Pack benefits expire. Renew on time, and you will be entered to win. We are giving away one 4-GB Xbox 360 with Kinect (Grand Prize) and one Microsoft webcam (First Prize) every month during the sweepstakes. [No purchase necessary. Open only to authorized representatives of companies actively enrolled in the Microsoft Partner Network, who are legal residents of the 50 United States (including Washington, D.C.), aged 18 and older. Game ends June 30, 2012. For full details, read the Official Rules.]

Microsoft Action Pack New Subscriber Sweepstakes
Subscribe to the Microsoft Action Pack, and you will be entered to win. We are giving away one 4-GB Xbox 360 with Kinect (Grand Prize) and one Microsoft webcam (First Prize) every month during the sweepstakes. [No purchase necessary. Open only to authorized representatives of companies actively enrolled in the Microsoft Partner Network, who are legal residents of the 50 United States (including Washington, D.C.), aged 18 and older. Game ends June 30, 2012. For full details, read the Official Rules.]

Microsoft Cloud Benefits Help You or Your Customers Migrate Mailboxes
Subscribe to the Microsoft Cloud Essentials Pack and deploy Microsoft Office 365 by October 31, and receive up to ten (10) complimentary licenses for BitTitan's MigrationWiz mailbox migration solution. The license codes can be for your internal use, as part of a solution provided by you to customers, or a combination of the two.

Next Release of Windows Intune Arrives October 17
On October 17, our next release of Windows Intune will be available. The new release includes the new features and updates of the July 2011 beta, including software distribution, remote tasks, enhanced license management, customized alerts.

October 12: SBSC Webinar—New Opportunities, More Revenue with Windows Intune
Windows Intune, the latest addition to the Microsoft Online Services family, can help you reach more customers and increase revenue. It brings together cloud services and an upgrade subscription for the Windows 7 operating system to simplify PC management and security.

Demonstrate Your Capability to Deliver Desktop Solutions That Match Diverse Work Styles
Always-connected customers want faster services and freedom to work anywhere. Earn the Desktop competency to showcase your skills in deploying and supporting solutions with Windows 7, Office 2010, and the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack.

Deploy and Manage Windows Azure Applications with Microsoft System Center
This step-by-step evaluation will walk you through deploying and managing a Windows Azure application using System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2.

Get in Front of Your Influencers by Exhibiting at TechEd North America 2012
Ensure your company is front and center as an exhibitor at TechEd 2012, where some of the most influential technologists come to learn and network. Booth selection is based on your registration date, so be first in line beginning October 11.

Training Recommendations
Find training opportunities and recommendations anytime on the U.S. Partner Learning blog, Learning Plan Tool website, and the Local Activities Section of the Training and Events page on the U.S. partner portal.

Earn a Drawing Entry for Completing Security, SharePoint, Lync, and Intune Training
Take our October training recommendations for a chance to win a Flip Video Camera or Samsung 32-inch TV. This month features security, SharePoint 2010, Lync and Windows Intune solutions, and there are courses for every job role.

No-Cost Practice Test Code for Partners with the Silver Web Development Competency
Let us help you attain the gold Web Development competency by offering you a no-cost practice test code. Each code is valid for one practice test to help you prepare for exams 70-513, 70-515, or 70-516, all required for attaining the Gold Web Development competency.

October 12 Webcast: Microsoft Security Bulletins for October
As part of our usual cycle of updates, Microsoft will release the October Security Bulletins on Tuesday, October 11. Register to attend and participate in the live webcast offering a brief overview of the technical details of these bulletins.

Now in Partner Exam Academy: Portals and Collaboration
We are continuing to build out the Partner Exam Academy to help you prepare to attain Microsoft competencies. This week, we added Portals and Collaboration to Customer Relationship Management, Virtualization, and Desktop. You'll also find resources to help you prepare for Exams 70-667 and 70-668.

ISVs: Take the New Track into the Mobility Competency
Starting October 31, ISVs can qualify for the Mobility competency by submitting an app that has passed the Windows Phone Platform Ready qualifying application test (with additional requirements for gold).

Prepare Your Team to Pass Competency Exams
Be among the top 5% of Microsoft partners showcasing their organizations skills and distinguishing their value among discerning customers. Exclusive training offers up to a 40% discount when you purchase packs of 3 to 20 Microsoft competency exams.

SharePoint Server 2010 Momentum Workshops
These web workshops about SharePoint 2010 are brought to you by the Partner Services and Support team to enhance learning and develop additional technical Microsoft product knowledge.

SharePoint Server 2010 Momentum Workshops
These web workshops about SharePoint 2010 are brought to you by the Partner Services and Support team to enhance learning and develop additional technical Microsoft product knowledge.

Practice Accelerator Lets You Fast-Track Your Business
Expand your customer base and provide consistent customer experiences as you build your services practice around Microsoft technologies. Practice Accelerator is a comprehensive set of reusable tools and best practices.

Role-Based Training for Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Training for Business Decision Makers
Microsoft SharePoint 2010

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Training for IT Professionals
Microsoft SharePoint 2010

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Training for Developers
Microsoft SharePoint 2010

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Training for Sales and Marketing Roles
Microsoft SharePoint 2010

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Training for Training Roles
Microsoft SharePoint 2010

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012
A partner on a service plan has unlimited access to the courses on E-Learning for Microsoft Dynamics. A partner who is not on a service plan can purchase e-learning courses.