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How Hyper-V, Surface and Windows Phone impact Microsoft's relationships

With a bevy of announcements this week, Microsoft asserted its position in the market – but at what cost to partners and customers?

Who benefits and who suffers when Microsoft changes its product lineup or its licensing strategy? That's the big question in a week full of Windows news. Here are some of the responses from observers outside of Redmond. 

 “Once Hyper-V 3 comes out, your negotiating power with [Microsoft] is going to be diminished.”
- David Kinsman, national technical solutions architect for World Wide Technology Inc. in St. Louis, Mo. Right now, Kinsman says, Microsoft works with customers choosing between Hyper-V and VMware vSphere, but that might change when the feature comparison evens out in Windows Server 2012. After going through the cost comparison, you'll have to decide whether it's worth it to make the switch.

 “Man…what a great day to be a Microsoft partner!”
- Brian Madden, blogger and industry expert, sarcastically pointing out some of the issues that the recently announced Surface tablet presents for partners, since the device will be manufactured by Microsoft and initially sold only in its company stores.

Surface includes an integrated kickstand and a cover that doubles as a keyboard. It will come in two versions: Windows RT and Windows Pro. From an IT perspective, some important questions remain about how Surface tablets will be managed. (For some more amusing quotes, check out the #badmicrosoftsurprises hashtag on Twitter, where observers guessed what might be unveiled.)

“Expensive, heavy and an intensely irritating waste of valuable corporate energy.”
- David Roberts, executive director at the Corporate IT Forum, a U.K-based consortium of IT professionals, on Microsoft's volume licensing changes for enterprise customers there. Beginning in July, many businesses will pay over 25% more than they do currently for some versions of Microsoft Office, Windows 7, Windows Server, Exchange Server and SQL Server.

 “Will be REALLY curious to hear what Microsoft's definition of 'device management' will be.”
- Don Sorcinelli (@DPSJ), co-manager of the Boston Windows Mobile User and Developer Group, questioning one of the “enterprise-ready” features of Windows Phone 8, which Microsoft introduced at a special event this week. 

The new version, which will be released sometime in the fall, includes a shared core with Windows 8 (with the same kernel, file system and drivers), which company officials said would make it simpler for IT to manage, though specific management plans weren't covered. Other enterprise features of Windows Phone 8 include secure boot, BitLocker encryption and a "company hub" for customized internal application deployment. While current Windows Phone users won't be able to upgrade to the new version without buying a new phone, they will be able to get Windows Phone 7.8, which includes an enhanced user interface.

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David's response is logical and not emotional.