ON THE SCENE: WORLDWIDE PARTNER CONFERENCE ’09
Microsoft’s Million-Member March
Major milestones, and major roadmap promises, at the vendor’s Worldwide Partner Conference ’09
icrosoft certainly covered a our [research-and-development] spend- rounded out Microsoft’s midsummer
lot of ground during its ing flat next year—$9.5 billion in aggre- roller-coaster ride.
seventh annual Worldwide gate, which is more than any other Microsoft has long been known for its
Partner Conference (WPC) company in the world spends on R&D. It “holistic view of the business ecosystem,”
in New Orleans in July. The company re- is a testament to our belief and our opti- says Paul Greenberg, founder and presi-
leased several new products, updated mism about the future.” dent of consultancy The 56 Group, adding
others, celebrated milestones, and un- That optimism must’ve been sorely that the company has grown in large part
veiled a roadmap that analysts seemed to tested of late: Just days after the confer- by using partners to “fill the holes.” That
consider very encouraging, especially in ence ended, Microsoft announced a year- Microsoft Partner Program ecosystem, he
this economy and given the negative pub- over-year drop in annual revenue for the says, now has the company successfully
licity of what one analyst called “The first time in its history as a publicly managing 360,000 partners in addition to
Black Eye”—the product Microsoft traded company. A Gartner report re- 640,000 partner affiliates.
prefers to call by its official name: “Vista.” leased at roughly the same time, however,
In his keynote, Steve Ballmer, the com- pegged Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s an- DYNAMICS CRM PASSES 1 MILLION USERS
pany’s chief executive officer, highlighted nual growth at 75 percent in 2008—com- One million may seem impressive, but
eight critical areas of focus—and Dynam- pared to 12.5 percent for the overall CRM some analysts call it little more than hype.
ics CRM was rolled into the final one, industry. (See “CRM Market Grows for “It’s almost a bit of an artificial mile-
under the heading of “other businesses.” Fifth Straight Year,” below.) The launch of stone,” says Warren Wilson, research di-
“We’re investing despite the economic its Bing search engine and subsequent rector at Ovum Summit, adding that
downturn,” Ballmer said. “We will keep search-engine partnership with Yahoo! Dynamics CRM has seen rapid adoption
CRM Market Grows for Fifth Straight Year
he worldwide CRM market ex- “SAP didn’t do as well as I had antic- “The company is pretty focused on
tended its growth streak to a fifth ipated,” Mertz says, noting a 0.8 percent BusinessObjects this year, and the
consecutive year, according to a slide in revenue compared to 2007. company’s CRM offering is more well-
report from Gartner, up 12.5 percent in
2008, from revenue of $8.13 billion in Top 5 Vendors in Terms of Market Share
2007 to $9.15 billion in 2008.