It has been a while since I've been to a global partner conference and I'm always amazed by the scale of these events.
With 16,000 partners and associated Microsoft people crammed into the main keynote auditorium in the Air Canada centre - it felt like we were going to a sporting event - the atmosphere was pretty electric.
Before Ballmer graced the stage, we were treated to a spectacular show by Cirque de Soleil - yes the Cirque de Soleil - what recession?! I've filmed the whole thing so if you would like me to - I can get it online. Pretty impressive stuff.
Then followed a keynote which was delivered in slightly different format than usual - Steve Ballmer was introduced and he had chats with a couple of executives who made the main news announcements - Tami Rellen unveiled the official launch date of Windows 8 and Kurt DelBene announced the launch of a new programme that gives billing possession for 365 back to partners.
Now I know from what a lot of you have said to me in the past that this has been a major bugbear to selling 365 because you feel you don't want to lose control of customer billing, and also you prefer the revenues on your own bottom line rather than Microsoft's.
Of course the option is still there for any partners that prefer Microsoft to handle the billing and take the risk on their behalf, but it was evident from the messaging that the vendor was keen to give its partners choice.
With some of the more negative news that has emerged in recent weeks over pricing hikes and the axing of SBS - it appeared clear that the vendor was trying its best to show partners that they are valued and it is listening to them.
I am hoping to speak to some partners this week and get their thoughts, but from the whooping and hollering coming from the room, and yes, this included UK partners (I know who you are) I think the announcement went down well.
A couple of funny incidents occurred during the day, the funniest being Ballmer's microphone nightmare, where he went through no less than four mics trying to find one that worked. Eventually after he went through three wireless mics, the long-suffering technician brought a wired one on stage.
He got the biggest cheer of the day when the damn thing actually worked.
I'm expecting big things tomorrow as they start to drill deeper into the announcements - and if the keynote doesn't kick off with Cirque de Soleil - I might just sulk.
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