Partners Gain the Spotlight
Microsoft takes aim at better relations.Microsoft Corp. is acting to soothe its ailing partner channel with a slew of initiatives, including Version 2.0 of its Microsoft Partner Program and product-upgrade highlights across the board, all announced at its Worldwide Partner Conference last week in Minneapolis. But while the new initiatives amount to incremental steps forward, the efforts to smooth channel relations are critical for Microsoft if it wants to succeed with its huge investment in business applications, according to partners and analysts.
As part of the upgraded Partner Program, announced in 2003, Microsoft will launch four Solution Competencies: Custom Development Solutions, Mobility Solutions, Licensing Solutions and OEM Hardware Solutions. A new Business Specialist Community lets partners access software, training and other resources, while a Partner Learning Center, rolled out to 60 subsidiaries and available in 34 languages, provides training online. A Web-based tool, Response Management for Partners, helps users escalate issues directly to Microsoft, while a Solution Finder tool lets customers find partners on Microsofts Web site.