RealTime IT News

Microsoft Earmarks $500M For Partners

Microsoft announced it would invest $500 million in its 810,000-member partner network over the next two years, with most of the money to be invested in the next year.

The company said the investment, roughly double the total plowed into partner initiatives last year, would begin this month. It is designed to help partners beef up their field staff; increase training; and access more technical support.

"We are investing in people, marketing, support, tools and programs on a new level," Microsoft VP of worldwide partner sales and marketing Allison Watson said in a statement. "As a company we can be successful only if all our partner segments are successful."

Microsoft's partner network includes resellers, system integrators, software vendors, and developers.

First up is an investment to increase partners' field staff, including accounting managers, technical specialists, and phone sales reps. Last month, Microsoft announced it would undertake the largest increase in its sales force in a decade, while overhauling the sales team to focus on vertical industries.

Also, Microsoft's money will go toward enhancing the eLearning Center, a Web site for sales and technical training from Microsoft. The company plans to introduce an "online concierge," which will actually be Microsoft technical support members directing partners to troubleshooting resources.