Microsoft: Opportunities Abound for Partners

Microsoft Server and Tools Marketing Corporate Vice President Andy Lees is expected to talk up the software maker's People-Ready business and tout how Microsoft's investments will drive opportunities for its industry partners.

BOSTON—Microsoft will use the second day of its annual Worldwide Partner Conference here to talk about all the opportunity that remains for its partners and how its People-Ready business has broadened the scope of that for them.

In a keynote address to be delivered July 12, Microsoft Server and Tools Marketing Corporate Vice President Andy Lees is expected to talk up the Redmond, Wash., software makers People-Ready business and tout how the investments it is making in this will drive opportunities for its industry partners.

In an interview ahead of that keynote address, Steven VanRoekel, the director of the Windows solutions group, told eWEEK that there are still a lot of opportunities out there for partners.

"Traditionally, a large group of people have been chasing a narrow amount of opportunity, but with Microsofts software and solution offerings, this has now been significantly opened up," he said.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read more about Bob Muglias vision for Microsofts "People-Ready" business.

Lees will announce a number of initiatives and promotions around the People-Ready business, including the SSA (Security Software Advisor) program, the SQL Server Competitive Migration Program, and the Branch Infrastructure Promotion.

The SSA program is designed to give Microsofts security partners and solutions providers an opportunity to earn supplemental revenue when they assist customers with the acquisition and deployment of Microsoft security software.

Eligible partners can receive fees of up to 30 percent of the sale of selected Microsoft security products, while those who are involved in the recommendation process and serve as the primary Microsoft security software implementation partner for new sales of selected ISA (Internet Security and Acceleration) Server and Antigen product SKUs will get an additional 10 percent above their security software adviser fees. This offer expires Feb. 1, 2007, VanRoekel said.

VanRoekel said this is an incentive plan for partners to get competency on the security front.

"We have rebranded our security offerings as Forefront, and this program is a great way for us to hear from partners about that and for them to learn about it," he said.

The new branch-office promotion—which includes Windows Server 2003 R2, the Microsoft ISA Server, Virtual Server 2005 R2 and System Center System Management Licenses—will be made available at a 10 percent price discount of the total value of the solution.

This will give Windows Server customers policy-based protection for branch-office servers and clients, branch-office connectivity, and internal and external protection for their application infrastructure, services and data, VanRoekel said.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read more about how Microsofts rebranded its enterprise security push as "Forefront."

Also, given the importance of the SMB (small to midsize business) segment, Lees will announce the availability of the Microsoft Windows Server System Assessment and Deployment Solution for Midsize Businesses, which will help systems integrators reduce non-billable hours in assessing prospective customers networks, automate infrastructure deployments and reduce deployment complexities and risks, he said.

And, from Oct. 1, 2006, customers will be able to purchase Windows Server 2003 R2, Datacenter Edition, from Microsoft resellers as well as from OEMs preinstalled on servers with two to 64 processors.

Next Page: Licensing.