Users turning to Microsoft's stable of channel partners for products, support or consulting services are getting a new point of differentiation to help them make decisions about which suppliers to select.
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At its Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto Sunday, Microsoft launched its Services Partner Advantage programme to provide additional resources and support options to independent software suppliers, systems integrators and other partners.
A standard, prepackaged option gives a partner phone-based problem resolution support and various online resources.
The higher-priced "plus" plan can be customised by the partner and adds a designated service professional at Microsoft. There is also a third plan, based on the standard and plus offerings, that applies to Microsoft Business Solutions products.
"We want to try to drive better credibility for the partner community so they become more of an asset for their end customers," said Thomas Dawkins, a product manager for worldwide services at Microsoft.
Partners in the past had to pay at least $40,000 (£21,500) to $50,000 to get premier support with Microsoft. They will now find an entry-level option for the standard plan starting at $5,000 to $8,000.
The entry price point for the plus plan ranges from $27,000 to $32,000. The less expensive options are expected to enable an increasing number of Microsoft's partners to access more consistent support.
Carol Sliwa writes for Computerworld