​I’m at the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Los Angeles today, which this year is hosting almost 15,000 Microsoft Partners from around the world. Today, Windows Phone Division President Andy Lees addressed attendees on the opportunities for partners with Windows Phone. It’s an exciting time for the Windows Phone business and we’re thrilled to see the great things people are saying about our next major update—code-named Mango. Take the great new product capabilities coming in Mango—combined with new partner benefits just announced—and there’s never been a better time to join the rapidly growing Windows Phone ecosystem.

 
Expanding the Windows Phone Partner Ecosystem
 
We launched Windows Phone 7 last fall with the help of our partners, and have seen the ecosystem momentum build rapidly ever since. We’ve received great customer feedback about their experiences across the range of devices being offered by our hardware and mobile operator partners. More than 42,000 developers worldwide have registered with the Windows Phones Marketplace. To date, these developers have added more than 20,000 apps to the Windows Phone Marketplace, greatly expanding the range of experiences for Windows Phone customers. From hot consumer apps like Angry Birds, ESPN Scorecenter, and Netflix, to business-focused apps like CWR Mobile CRM 2011 and PushBI, the Marketplace is growing stronger each day with the help of our partners.
 
Additionally, with our agreement with Nokia finalized, work is well underway to deliver Nokia phones on the Windows Phone platform before the end of the year.
 
Sweet, Sweet Mango
 
There’s a lot of buzz around our upcoming Mango update, which will add hundreds of new features and capabilities that build upon the unique design and integrated experiences of Windows Phone. If you’re a partner building solutions with Exchange and SharePoint, Mango adds a number of new Outlook and Office Mobile productivity features bringing even more value to your solutions on Windows Phone. Mango will also add built-in support for Office 365 and a free Lync Mobile app, making communication and collaboration a snap for companies whose infrastructure is on premises or in the cloud. Mango will also offer added functionality for organizations to make the most efficient use of resources, allowing IT departments to use existing infrastructure to manage phones or distribute their own applications using Targeted App Distribution in Marketplace.
 
WIndows-Phone-Group-Feed_3_7A73EDF4.jpgWindows-Phone-User-Profile_3_7A73EDF4.jpgNew Yammer application for Windows Phone available as a free download from the Windows Phone Marketplace later this quarter
 
 
 
 
 
Left: Group Feed Page, which shows messages posted to a group; Right: User Profile Page, which includes user contact information
 
 
For developers, Mango adds a range of new capabilities for delivering richer more compelling apps. In addition to support for SQL LINQ, sockets, and background processing, Mango brings new ways for app developers to make the user experience more engaging and seamless through Live Tiles and integration with Bing search services.
 
Not only do these new features in Mango extend the premier productivity smartphone experience, but they’ll help partners to grow their business. In fact, a new study by IDC study suggests that by 2012 Windows Phone has the potential to generate annual attached software and service revenue of nearly $300 per Windows Phone device for partners. In other words, Windows Phone for the long-term is a huge opportunity for partners to attract new customers and grow their business.
 
For app and solution developers, a familiar platform and enhanced development tools in Mango will enable partners to create and distribute new solutions and applications. Partners will continue to leverage familiar tools such as Silverlight, the XNA Framework, Visual Studio 2010, and Expression Blend to bring new apps to market quickly. Some good examples of this are Yellowbook and REALTOR.com. Additionally, Yammer announced today they will be bringing their enterprise social networking app to the Windows Phone Marketplace later this year.
 
We also recently released the Windows Phone Mango Beta 2 Developer Tools so developers could try out the new capabilities and get a jump on building and testing new apps for Mango.
 
Revamped Mobility Competency and Added Discounts for Microsoft Partners
 
As part of WPC, we are happy to announce several new benefits designed to help partners experience Windows Phone and promote their Windows Phone expertise to customers.
 
First, we’re making it even easier for partners to obtain and experience Windows Phones with a new Windows Phone Discount Program. Partners with at least one Microsoft competency can take advantage of exclusive discounts from mobile operators and hardware vendors for all of their employees worldwide.
 
We’re also making it easier for partners to stay informed through a new MPN app for Windows Phone, which provides access to exclusive technical and sales content.
 
MPN-Composite-FINAL_3_7A73EDF4.jpgNew Microsoft Partner Network Application for Windows Phone. Showing, from left to right: Search Page, Home Page, Community Page

 
 
 
 
 
 
In addition, we’re revamping the Mobility Competency certification. Partners can earn the Microsoft Mobility Competency for their organizations through newly revised Windows Phone training. And for the first time, beginning with the next round of MPN updates this fall, partners will be able to obtain the Microsoft Mobility Competency certification for their company by developing an app that meets specific criteria as a business application. Through the Mobility Competency, partners can become and stay proficient in Windows Phone app development and solution deployment. They will also be able to utilize a special MPN logo—available immediately—to distinguish their apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace and App Hub.
 
 
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Exciting times indeed! With new partners, new products, new platform capabilities, new partner benefits, and more great apps and solutions being delivered every day, it is a great time to be part of the Windows Phone ecosystem and take advantage of the tremendous opportunity ahead.

 
For information about the opportunities with Windows Phone Mango or the Marketplace, visit our Partner site.​