At Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference 2011, day two in Los Angeles, Andy Lees, president of Microsoft's Windows Phone Division, announced a number of new Windows Phone benefits for Microsoft partners, including exclusive discounts on Windows Phone devices and accompanying rate plans from mobile operators, new ways for Windows Phone partners to attain the Mobility Competency partner accreditation, and a new Microsoft Partner Network app for all Competency partners.
Lees highlighted a number of new features coming to the next version of WP, code-named "Mango," that build upon the unique design of WP and deliver integrated experiences with the company's massive business user base of more than 750 million Microsoft Office users, 150 million Exchange users and 100 million licensed SharePoint users.
As the only phone to offer Office Mobile and Outlook Mobile built-in, the next version of WP, will enable greater productivity by allowing businesses to extend their IT infrastructure and utilize Microsoft cloud-based services such as Office 365 while increasing opportunities for partners around the globe, Lees said.
Expanding Windows Phone Ecosystem
Since WP7's debut in Oct 2010, Microsoft has announced a major partnership with Nokia and signed on new device partners such as ZTE, Acer and Fujitsu Ltd. These new partnerships aren't the only signs that point to an expanding WP ecosystem. The company also notes strong engagement by the developer community, which to date includes the following:
- > 42,000 registered marketplace developers
- > 1.5 million developer toolkits downloaded
- Over 22,000 applications and games in the Windows Phone Marketplace with an average of more than 100 new titles each day
The WP platform, along with new app development tools for "Mango," will allow partners to create and distribute mobile solutions, services and applications that can grow their business significantly," said Paul Bryan, Microsoft's senior director of Product Management.
By 2012, IDC predicts, Windows Phone has the potential to generate annual software and service revenue of $296 per Windows Phone device for Microsoft partners.
Lees also unveiled a range of new benefits and opportunities for members of the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN).
Lees announced an exclusive discount program that makes it easier for MPN members worldwide to obtain and experience WP. The new discount program, which begins immediately, is available to all MPN members with at least one Microsoft competency.
Lees also unveiled a new MPN app for all Mobility Competency partners that enables them to easily access exclusive technical and sales content for WP while on the go.
As a specific benefit to Mobility Competency partners, Lees announced a special MPN logo, available today, that partners may use to distinguish their apps from others in the Windows Phone Marketplace and App Hub.
Lees also announced that the next round of MPN updates in the fall will include a new way for partners that build mobile apps to attain the Mobility Competency certification by developing an app that meets specific business criteria.