Microsoft to Invest $500 Million Into Partners

Software giant pledges to invest $500 million into its partner community, increasing its investment by 50 percent over last year.

Microsoft Corp. Friday reaffirmed its commitment to its partners, promising to invest $500 million into building and supporting its partner community.

Speaking at the Microsoft Fusion 2002 conference of Microsoft partners in Los Angeles Friday, Allison Watson, vice president of Microsofts Worldwide Partner Sales and Marketing Group, said Microsoft has pledged to invest $500 million into its partner community, increasing its investment by 50 percent over last year.

"We are investing in people, marketing, support, tools and programs on a new level," Watson said in a statement. "As a company we can be successful only if all our partner segments are successful. We recognize the need to provide more resources for our partners, and we believe the investments we are making will have a clear impact on our mutual success."

The Redmond, Wash., software giant said its partner community is 810,000 members strong.

The company hopes to increase that number by investing in training and supporting its community of resellers, solution providers, system integrators, independent software vendors and developers, Microsoft officials said.

Company officials said the $500 million investment into the community would begin this month and continue in phases through the next two years--with most of it being spent over the next year.

The company will increase its field staff--including account managers, technical specialists and telesales representatives--to be able to better work with partners. The company has slated $4 million for training partner account managers.

The investment also will support Microsofts eLearning Center, a Web-based tool that features sales and technical training for partners. In addition, Microsoft will increase the number and availability of Microsoft for Partners News Groups and telephone support. And the company will launch an Online Concierge for Certified Partners, which is an online service for Microsoft Technical Support administrators.

Microsoft also plans to deliver increased marketing and sales support for its partners.