Microsoft's annual partner conference kicked off yesterday in Toronto, with resellers keen to hear how the vendor's new partner programme is developing.
At its partner conference last year, Microsoft introduced what it claimed were the biggest changes to its channel strategy for 10 years, and this year it is likely to update partners on its progress.
This year's event features presentations by Allison Watson, Microsoft vice-president of worldwide partner sales and marketing, and Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive.
The conference will bring up to 6,000 developers, resellers and Microsoft technology partners together to discuss business developments and build alliances.
Pam McClelland, partner programme manager of systems integrator Solidsoft, who described herself as a conference veteran, said: "The conference is a fantastic opportunity to network with potential partners and Microsoft people in the industry you would not ordinarily get to meet.
"It's a very business-focused event, aimed at the chief executive, decision-maker community."
The conference also features hands-on laboratory sessions, breakout tracks looking at advanced business and networking concepts, business leadership lectures and a specific track on infrastructure and security.
Microsoft's vendor partner base will also be present at the event, which will run until tomorrow.
George Kafkarkou, head of partner business at Computer Associates (CA) in North America, told CRN: "CA and Microsoft have a good relationship. Clearly Microsoft is a dominant player. We have resellers and distributors in common with Microsoft and it has the top mindshare in terms of partners.
"This is a fantastic opportunity to leverage existing relationships with partners and explore relationships with a new reseller base that has yet to embrace CA."
The conference ends with a 'celebration', including a concert by Pat Benatar. Next year's partner event will be held on 8-10 July in Minneapolis.
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