Microsoft adds more Surface channel partners, plus four other key points from day one at its Partner Conference

As Microsoft’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference kicks off, here is all the news from the first day.

Microsoft increases Surface partners

Microsoft has revealed that it is expanding its Surface channel partners to a few thousand globally in the next few months.

Previously the Surface was only available from a few hundred partners, who sold and serviced the device, but after demand from consumers increased, the firm has decided to expand its availability.

Microsoft said on the Surface Blog: “So if you’re a reseller or systems integrator with strong hardware capabilities, we’re looking forward to welcoming you and we’re excited to see how Surface’s presence in the commercial space will continue to grow – with your help.”

The firm has also revealed that those interested should go to the Microsoft Partner Network Device Partner Portal, and contact an authorised device distributor to learn more.

In addition, Microsoft is looking to take on more partners for its Surface Hub big screen collaboration device, making it more accessible for businesses to deploy the device.

Project GigJam makes first appearance

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella introduced Project GigJam, a new way for people to complete business tasks and transform business processes.

GigJam allows users to gain information from their line of business and SaaS apps, whilst separating specific information and actions needed to get work done and track each part.

Microsoft unveils its Cortana Analytics Suite

The firm announced a new set of services to help businesses ‘transform data into intelligent action’, dubbed the Cortana Analytics Suite.

The Suite brings together technology infrastructure including machine learning, big data storage and processing with perceptual intelligence such as vision, face and speech analysis.

Plus, it also integrates with AI assistant Cortana, and will be available to customers on a subscription basis.

Nadella showcases HoloLens

Nadella also took to the stage at the conference to showcase how Microsoft’s virtual reality HoloLens device works, and how it can benefit businesses.

In particular, Microsoft’s boss demonstrated how the firm’s partner Autodesk will use the virtual reality device, and how it will change how designers create, communicate, visualise and work. 

New partner investments

The firm revealed it will be expanding its Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, to help partners continue to build profitable cloud services. From today Microsoft will expand CSP to new markets, making it available in 131 markets overall.

Azure and CRM Online will join Office 365, Windows Intune and Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) as available services in the CSP.

Plus, a new premium Office 365 enterprise suite called E5 will be introduced before the end of the year. E3 will continue to feature the same features as Office 365 with the addition of newSkype for Business services such as Cloud PBX and Meeting Broadcast.

Image source: The Official Microsoft Blog

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