Microsoft Seeks Developer Partners for Mobile-First, Cloud-First World

Microsoft taps developer partners to build apps and services for the new mobile-first, cloud-first world.

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WASHINGTON, D.C.—Microsoft is relying on and working with developer partners to bring new, innovative technology to support the company's new mobile-first, cloud-first strategy.

At the company's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2014 here, Microsoft launched a new Vertical ISV Partnership Program (VIPP) for partners and also announced how several key partners are using Microsoft technology to create interesting apps and technologies.

Steven Guggenheimer, corporate vice president of Developer Platform & Evangelism and chief evangelist for Microsoft, told eWEEK in a meeting at WPC that many of Microsoft's key partners are leading the way in building innovative apps with Microsoft technologies such as Windows, Windows Phone 8 and Microsoft Azure. These partners include Viggle, Trend Micro, Epicor and Work In Field.

Viggle, an entertainment marketing and rewards platform, announced a strategic alliance with Microsoft that will extend the availability of the free Viggle app on Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. Viggle now runs on all major mobile platforms, including iOS, Android and Windows. Viggle will also use Microsoft Azure for cloud infrastructure to support the services across platforms and devices. The new Viggle app, which offers rewards for watching TV and listening to music, is free and available for download in the Windows and Windows Phone Stores.

"We are constantly evaluating how to improve and expand the Viggle experience for users and our alliance with Microsoft enables us to do that on multiple levels," said Greg Consiglio, president and COO of Viggle. "We are making the experience available to some users for the first time with the Viggle app for Windows."

"Windows is backed by an incredible, ever-growing app ecosystem," said Microsoft's Guggenheimer. "Viggle pushes the boundaries of how people use mobile devices and apps and helps people better connect with the entertainment they already love."

The Viggle app for Windows provides users with an easy-to-use second screen to engage in entertainment all day long and receive rewards for it. Users will be able to check into TV, match music, read entertaining content and engage with ads for points they can redeem for a wide variety of rewards, including digital media, at Viggle Store. The app works by recognizing and identifying the show or music that is playing from any source and serving up the song or show name. The technology allows users to simply tap the "check in" button on the app and match a few seconds of audio to its unique audio fingerprint.

Meanwhile, Work In Field announced that its mobile in-vehicle GPS app and Microsoft Azure-backed cloud service Vezma is now generally available for customers around the world. Using Vezma, customers and partners can track their journeys—as well as items like fuel consumption and expenses—and upload that information to the cloud. Additionally, businesses can manage and deploy vehicle tracking applications, improving their overall field performance and productivity, Guggenheimer said.

Epicor announced that its Epicor Retail Store Edition for Windows 8 is now available. The app gives retailers an intuitive, next-generation point-of-sale solution that leverages Windows 8 to empower store associates to deliver an efficient, personalized and inspired customer experience. This can aid retailers in boosting "units sold" and "dollar per transaction" metrics, while supporting improved operational effectiveness (e.g., more streamlined inventory replenishment, price changes, promos, etc.), Guggenheimer said in a blog post.

Epicor Retail Store Edition for Windows 8 can be run on a wide range of today's Windows 8-enabled devices—either at the register or on a tablet, desktop or Windows mobile device, providing a sleek and compact footprint. Additionally, retailers looking for opportunities to sell products outside of the store and digital environments will benefit from the solution's "store in a box" flexibility for off-site events with no additional implementation costs.

"With solutions deployed in 100,000 stores and on over 300,000 devices worldwide, Epicor is very much in tune with today's next-generation customer engagement needs and requirements in the retail sector," said Noel Goggin, executive vice president and general manager of Epicor Retail, in a statement. "Retailers recognize that point of sale is a very strategic platform that can aid omni-channel retailing and customer engagement/customer experience initiatives. Our Retail Store Edition for Windows 8 gives retailers the ability to go beyond transactions to promote a more engaging experience which translates into greater customer satisfaction and higher spending at check-out."

In addition, Trend Micro announced new and enhanced security capabilities and offerings for Microsoft Office 365 customers, including Trend Micro Cloud App Security and Hosted Email Security. The new products help businesses and IT professionals protect against data loss and secure their systems from malware while using cloud solutions like Office 365. As a result, businesses can focus on customers, instead of worrying about the limitations of existing IT infrastructure.