Microsoft Responds to Backlash, Won’t Eliminate Internal Use Rights

Microsoft reversed its controversial decision to curtail a popular partner perk.

Jeffrey Schwartz

July 12, 2019

2 Min Read
Fist Raised in Protest

Microsoft has found a way to afford the coveted internal use rights (IUR) offering that lets gold and silver partners use its products to run their businesses, a perk the company last week said it planned to eliminate.

After widespread backlash over the plan, channel chief Gavriella Schuster on Friday gave in to partners’ outcry.

Schuster, who is corporate VP for Microsoft’s One Commercial Partner program, issued a statement reversing the controversial plan. Thousands of partners had protested over the past week the company’s plan to eliminate the use rights, a benefit many rely on to run their businesses and remain proficient in Microsoft’s portfolio.


Microsoft’s Gavriella Schuster

“Given your feedback, we have made the decision to roll back all planned changes related to internal use rights and competency timelines that were announced earlier this month,” Schuster said. “This means you will experience no material changes this coming fiscal year, and you will not be subject to reduced IUR licenses or increased costs related to those licenses next July as previously announced. We listened to you, and we have acted.”

A mere two days earlier, Schuster, in a prerecorded webcast, addressed Microsoft’s planned partner investments that the company will focus on during next week’s annual Inspire conference in Las Vegas.

“We can’t afford this,” Schuster said at the time. “We can’t actually afford to run every single partner’s organization all around the world anymore, because it’s not free.”

Schuster’s remarks came as thousands of partners worldwide were signing an online petition, saying the move would be detrimental to their businesses. Some threatened to move to competitive products. The backlash was already poised to cast a shadow over Inspire, the annual weeklong conference intended to rally Microsoft partners.

Partners also were angered by Microsoft’s approach to making the decision, keeping them in the dark, and issuing a brief statement before the long July 4 holiday weekend.

“It’s not smart; it’s not good business,” said Ben Johnson, CEO and founder of Liberty Technology, a Microsoft silver partner.

Schuster apologized for taking that approach.

“As we move forward, we commit to providing even more advance notice and consultation with our partner community to mitigate concerns and address issues up front,” she noted. “We appreciate your feedback [and] apologize for the confusion this caused some members of our partner community.”

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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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