Last night was our AMITPRO Meeting and it was a chance to meet up with Emily Lambert, who has taken on the role of SBSC Lead for Microsoft (although that is not her entire role). I also got a chance to meet with Gareth Hall, the Windows Server Product Manager who has taken on SBS/EBS as well. It makes a lot of sense and more importantly Gareth holds the sign-off on the money especially in this launch year. Emily is a good choice for this role, I just hope we get some continuity now. The good thing is that the persistence by Gareth Brown and myself that Microsoft’s Small Business efforts should be through the SBS Groups is starting to pay off. Those that have kept the Community going month in, month out and evangelised the Programme deserve this support from Microsoft at the very least. It’s nice to see this recognition of our efforts and when I say "our", I mean all those SBSC Group Leads and Members who have kept the faith. It’s easy to keep the faith when you understand the value of Peer to Peer interaction. We discussed a lot of things but overall I feel very positive going forward. I liked Gareth’s approach and his honesty and also his willingness to push the Corporate boundaries. You know I like people who are willing to do that!
We had a very interesting presentation from Brightpoint and Orange who have joined with Microsoft to deliver a channel model for IT Resellers to provide Windows Mobile devices/Tariffs to end customers and provide an ongoing revenue stream. Brightpoint are the sole distributor of unbranded HTC devices in the UK. HTC are doing some great things especially with their new Diamond Touch devices running Windows Mobile 6.1. The offer looked very attractive to me as Brightpoint will basically do all the hard work for you and provide you with first line technical support as well. This offer has come about from feedback from some of the SBS Groups which Emily visited and then fed this information back to develop a Programme which I think potentially answers a lot of our needs around providing mobile services.