All eyes are on Microsoft this morning as its Worldwide Partner Conference officially kicks off in Houston. Following up on its Build developer conference just a few short weeks ago where the preview bits for Windows 8.1 went live, Microsoft jumped out of the chute this morning announcing that Windows 8.1 will indeed Release to Manufacturing by August. That guarantees new opportunities for channel resellers as Windows 8.1 gets much more business friendly this fall.
Most expected an RTM announcement for Windows 8.1, but most are expecting WPC to be the stage where Microsoft sheds a lot more insight into Windows Server, Azure, and other software products like Office 365, Dynamics, and SharePoint. Also expect a full rundown on new and modified channel programs, along with other unique opportunities... which could possibly include some unique propositions for Windows Phone and XBOX One, according to some rumors.
What we don't know is if Microsoft will finally outline the upcoming re-org, which will impose a new management team structure on the company as it moves from a software company to a devices and services company (that still makes a ton of software). Other rumors include news on a new Surface product, including a 8-inch mini-Surface, but we advise against holding your breath on that one; Microsoft will most likely hold a specific press event just for Surface in the next few months.
What else will Microsoft have in store? Share your speculation in the comments below, and stay tuned.
Update: WPC 2013: Office 365 and Cloud Will be the Big Winners For Microsoft and Partners
Update 2: WPC 2013: Channel Revenue Sees 6.5% Growth on 650 Billion
Update 3: WPC 2013: Are You There? Don't Forget Your Surface Deal
Update 4: WPC 2013: Microsoft Demos Miracast to an Enthusiastic Crowd
Update 5: WPC 2013: SMBs Embrace External Social Tools for Business, Even With the Risks
Update 6: WPC 2013: GISV Program Helps Microsoft Dynamics Partners Go Global