RealTime IT News

Microsoft Partner Deadline Arrives

In a move to make it easier for vendors to operate and compete, Microsoft will draw Business Solutions (MBS) channel partners into the Microsoft Partner Program (MPP) global framework.

The deadline is the next step in a year-long process that, when complete, will benefit the vendors and their potential customers, as well as the software giant.

Redmond also launched the Microsoft Business Solution Competency certification and began offering a new reseller agreement called the Solution Provider Agreement (SPA). Starting today, partners can begin enrolling in the Microsoft Business Solution Competency, sign the SPA and begin ordering new MBS services plans. All MBS Partners must sign the new reseller agreement.

Partners in Europe and Asia can begin ordering software licenses and services through consolidated Microsoft Regional Operations Centers.

But Microsoft isn't making MBS Partners start from scratch. With pre-approval, they can be grandfathered into program levels and three different competencies: the MBS Competency, the ISV Competency and the Learning Solutions Competency. If they aren't pre-approved by September 30, 2004, they will need to meet the standard requirements.

Microsoft is providing a 13-month period for partners to transition to the SPA. Existing partners will have from July 1, 2004, to July 31, 2005, to adopt the SPA. After that date, they'll have to work under the new agreement; until then, they can choose to operate under their existing SPAs.

Redmond sweetened the deal by adding three new partner benefits. A Customer Satisfaction Index lets partners survey their customers and earn Partner Points for happy customers. The Microsoft Resource Directory will make it easier for customers to find vendors. A Logo Builder will let partners build customized logos online to advertise their partner status.