Windows 8.1: New Opportunity for Microsoft Partners
It is the best tablet for business because "a Windows 8 tablet is going to provide full manageability, absolutely the best security and the desktop apps that are so critical in a business environment," Reller said. "We've made a lot of investments in mobile solutions, Direct Access, VPN, Windows To Go, SkyDrive Pro, as well as Skype and Lync and the integration we're doing there. It allows people to work from anywhere and yet have all the information they need." Visser also noted that new device categories such as Ultrabooks and convertibles are emerging. As work changes, companies require new devices to meet their evolving business models; Windows 8 enables a new generation of hardware experiences, delivering to partners the most comprehensive choice of devices for their customers, he said. Another reason to get caught up in the Windows 8 wave is that Windows XP is going out of support next April. "Most large enterprises have either completed their migration to Windows 7 or are on the path to migrate to Windows 7 or 8," he said. "However, nearly 30 percent of small and midmarket customers worldwide still have portions or all of their company running Windows XP. This represents a huge opportunity for partners to help move people off Windows XP and onto a modern operating system. Let's get the message out, it's time to switch!" Finally, Visser said moving to Windows 8 and 8.1 makes sense because mobile app development is a growing investment area for businesses."With the obvious ROI that customers are seeing with Windows 7, and the confidence that we really aim to deliver with Windows 8.1, there's never been a better time to really migrate those customers forward on Windows and off of XP," Reller said. Microsoft offers the Windows Accelerate program, which makes it easier for partners to deploy Windows 8 and Windows 7 to customers. "We're going to continue that program, and we're going to increase investments worldwide," Reller said. The whole idea behind this program is to support proof of concept and pilots through partners to help customers move off of XP and to get modern, including modern apps, she said. To further support partners in bringing customers forward on Windows and all the latest devices, Microsoft is rolling out another program, Touch Win. "The whole idea is to provide incentives for the commercial channel for featured devices and tablets, PCs and tablets, and through this program, we will provide incentives directly to authorized distributors as well as reseller partners who sell feature PCs and tablets that have Windows Pro and are touch enabled," Reller said.
Also at WPC, Hewlett-Packard announced a tightly integrated approach with Microsoft to help customers transition from Windows XP to a modern version of Windows, Visser wrote. "Not only does the partner offer business desktops, notebooks and all-in-ones optimized for Windows 7 and Windows 8, but it also sets partners and customers up with resources, training tools and professional guides to make migrations easier," he said. Additionally, HP and Microsoft will offer WPC attendees a special price for the ElitePad. Visit www.hp.com/goodbyeXP to learn more.