Frustration Among Microsoft Channel Partners Escalates Over Looming Changes

A Microsoft exec says “change is hard,” but partners don’t believe the company is hearing their concerns.

Jeffrey Schwartz

April 29, 2022

9 Slides

Many Microsoft channel partners are worried about the company’s plan to overhaul its partner program with more stringent requirements. Partners say the revamped program, announced last month, has unrealistic conditions to achieve the same recognition they now hold.

Microsoft partners are still digesting the implications of the company’s plan to retire the Microsoft Partner Program (MPN). In its place is the new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program. Partners believe meeting the requirements of the new program will be difficult – if not impossible – without a hefty investment.

Notably alarming to partners is the significant increase in certifications that Microsoft requires for the same recognition they currently receive. Many have also lamented that Microsoft is yet to share details on what incentives and enablement the company will provide. Adding to partners’ angst is the Oct. 1 date Microsoft has established for the new program to take effect. Because that’s less than six months from now, partners say they have little time for them to prepare.

Tyler Bryson, Microsoft’s corporate VP for U.S. global partner solutions, said the pushback didn’t surprise him. Speaking to a ballroom of partners during a keynote session at this month’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Bryson said: “We know change is hard.” He went on to emphasize: “This is not the removal of benefits for anyone. This is about starting, in October, a means for our partners to really start to differentiate themselves in our six course solution areas.”

Our slideshow above features Microsoft channel partners who are frustrated by the changes coming to the program.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Jeffrey Schwartz or connect with him on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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