We keep mentioning “Microsoft Platform Ready” (MPR) on this blog and ISVs keep asking me – “What the heck is it?”

Official Answer:

If you like flowery marketing words then check out the description on the MPR site www.microsoftplatformready.com. Else read on.

Short Answer:

MPR is an attempt by Microsoft to pull together resources to help software companies developing products to explore and adopt the latest technologies from Microsoft including Windows Azure and SQL Server 2008 R2. In return for profiling your company and application(s) you get free technical benefits to help you use the latest technology. In return for successfully testing your application you get free marketing benefits. Additionally testing an application in MPR is a requirement for certain Microsoft Partner Network Silver Competencies such as the ISV Silver Competency .

It is FREE to signup, profiling takes just a few minutes and the benefits offered by MPR will just keep getting better through 2011. IMHO it is a “no brainer”.

Longer Answer:

MPR offers assistance during the three phases of getting a software product into the hands of customers.

  • Develop: During development MPR offers free training courses (future), early access to software builds (future), free email based technical support (now) and answers to your questions via expert chat series of online meetings (near future).
  • Test: During testing we offer tools to simplify the testing of an applications use of our technology plus support when you run into problems.
  • The test tool is a single tool which covers several technologies. It is simple to use and “automatically” tests your application and produces pass/fail reports. There is no charge to test your application.
  • Market: Once the application passes testing, you can take advantage of marketing benefits including a customizable marketing toolkit (a zip of press releases etc), exclusive logo attainment (e.g. Powered by Windows Azure) and preferential placement in the PinPoint customer facing catalogue.

Additionally:

  • In January you get the Cloud Essentials Pack which includes monthly free allowances for the Windows Azure Platform + free licenses to use BPOS, CRM Online, Intune etc (more on this in a separate post).
  • Passing a test qualifies for certain Microsoft Partner Network Silver Competencies – which in turn give additional benefits (more on this in a separate post).

The following are the main technologies covered by MPR  (as of Dec 2010)

  • Windows Azure Platform
  • SQL Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Phone 7
  • Sharepoint 2010