The expansion includes more choices and extended payment options, greater coverage of the Microsoft product line, introduction in other countries outside the U.S., and tighter integration into the overall partner marketing programs, said Brian Madison general manager of Microsoft Financing.
The financing plans now cover more than 80 percent of the total Microsoft product portfolio, which is more than double its reach a year ago.
"If Microsoft sells it, we will finance it," Madison said.
Financing is now also available for hardware and non-Microsoft software purchases as well. "For ERP software sales frequently involve customers who are trading out hardware," said Madison.
He mentioned that the company plans to introduce financing to Japanese customers later this year, an option that is very popular with software customers in that country.
To jumpstart early adopters, Microsoft Finance introduced SmartPay, an expansion of its 6/50 program. Unveiled last year, the program allowed partners to extend credit to customers with initial payments of only $50 per month for six months. SmartPay now extends the $50 payments to a full year.
"With a 12-month and $50 minimum monthly payment, customers can easily adopt our technologies," Madison said.
"They also can take advantage of our new servers or our new Dynamics launch and give the partners the ability to deliver these applications at the lowest possible monthly payments—so low in fact that they can start using our products immediately," he said. There are also other payment plans at higher monthly rates, he added.
Financing has proven to be a big hit for both partners and their customers, according to Microsoft. "We want to enable our customers to leverage their IT budgets, with our financing program, they can have champagne tastes on a beer budget," Madison said.
Deals under the program have tended to be bigger and close faster. "We would not have closed American Apparel without Microsoft Financing," said Cem Item, vice president of VAR Sunrise Technologies in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Also new to the program is a redesigned Web portal that includes financial calculators, credit application forms and proposal tools to help VARs prepare financing proposals.