Channel unified as MS rings changes

By Roanna Avison Microsoft has brought its UK channels and direct managed resellers back into a single business unit for the...

By Roanna Avison Microsoft has brought its UK channels and direct managed resellers back into a single business unit for the second time, a move which reverses its initial decision in 1997 to split them into separate divisions.

The move came in the same week as Microsoft revealed its Internet business strategy and finally bowed to channel pressure to introduce processor-based pricing. All UK channel marketing has been pushed into a single division in a bid to increase co-ordination between the two parts of its channel. Stephen Uden will remain as head of partner marketing and Steve Beswick will run the managed accounts. The vendor has also created a strategic business development division in the UK in order to focus on new business, which will be run by Gordon Smillie. One reseller said: “Bringing all its channel business together sounds like a good idea and it’s good to see Microsoft listening to its partners on the processor-based pricing.” Last week, the UK channel called on Microsoft to follow in the footsteps of its US parent and adapt its pricing to better suit the Internet (see MicroScope, 20 June). “The UK is doing exactly the same as the US,” Uden claimed. “When we launch SQL 2000 at the end of the summer, we will offer per-processor licensing as an option alongside the per-seat licensing.” Microsoft is expecting a rapid adoption of the processor-based licensing. It will be introduced on the vendor’s Internet products including BizTalk, which is being shipped in the autumn. The software leviathan also unveiled plans to rebrand its products under a different name, Microsoft.Net. Chairman Bill Gates said the .Net versions of Windows and Office would be shipped over the next couple of years. The vision may yet fall foul of US anti-trust laws because it aims to more tightly integrate the Internet into Microsoft’s software and expand its dominance into other computing devices.

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