*** Best Nickname: One hotel for press and analysts combined the interior look of a war zone with the façade of a parking structure. Press wags not-so-affectionately dubbed it the Baghdad Hilton.
*** Best Stealth Fact: Designated Microsoft spokespeople refused to provide price on the new embeddable version of BizTalk Server (R2). A panelist was not so reticent: The list price: $500.
*** Best Bamboozle: The setup: Microsoft COO Kevin Turner talked up a three-way simultaneous launch next February of Longhorn/Katmai/Orcas (that’s Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 to those who stand on formalities.) The bamboozle: At least one third of the three products won’t ship at launch time—SQL Server is on for second quarter 08 general availability.
*** Best Quip About the Best Bamboozle: Microsoft Business Solutions exec, who shall go nameless, when asked whether the launch was more marketing shtick than real launch answered: “Marketing, reality, what’s the difference?”
*** Second Best Quip about the Best Bamboozle: A former systems integrator exec attending the show: “It would be nice if they all shipped together, but I’m not sure the world could stand it if they did. This launch will blow previous enterprise launches away.”
*** Most Reassuring Comment for MBS Partners: New MBS head Kirill Tatarinov said his experience building Microsoft’s Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI) will help him in the business apps push. Both DSI and MBS are “oriented on a partner ecosystem.” During an interview he said: “From meeting with partners for two days non-stop, I can say the ecosystem in business solutions is much broader and partnering is the strategy.”
*** Most Cynical Response to Marketing Spiel:The incessant message that the raft of new services and products coming out in 07 and 08 are “People Ready” started grating immediately. Asked if he were, in fact, “people ready,” one long time Microsoft analyst noted: “You show me which people and I’ll tell you if I’m ready.”
*** Most Desperate Appeal for Approval: When an Enterprise Products Group honcho announced to partners he wanted them to help build Microsoft’s enterprise sales grow 20 percent next year, there was silence and less-than a smattering of applause (It was early). “I do need some applause on that,” said Simon. The crowd obliged politely .
*** Best Imitation of a Zombie Convention: Controversy spices up most partner conferences, as partners lean on vendors from a rare position of strength. At WPC, thousands of Microsoft partners shrugged their way through days of keynotes, crowded into a huge convention hall and hardly reacting to any of the “dramatic” revelations from Microsofties, who had to prompt the audience repeatedly for applause.
*** The Best Huh? Moment During Keynote Presentations: Allison Watson, after her Day 2 opener to a string of keynotes left the stage by strapping on a “jet pack” that would allegedly “propel” her around the stage. It didn’t; she walked off as the lights faded to black.