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July 8, 2008
At Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston, most folks are focused on Microsoft’s Software as a Service (SaaS) strategy. But here’s a quick fact from the event that caught The VAR Guy’s ear: More than 2,500 Microsoft partners have achieved the “Unified Communications Solutions” competency. Should Cisco Systems be worried?
First, let’s put things in perspective. The VAR Guy has never been blown away by certifications, accreditations and other pieces of paper that claim VARs and managed service providers are competent. And earning Microsoft’s Unified Communications Solutions competency could be a rubber-stamp diploma.
But The VAR Guy thinks Microsoft is onto something here. In the world of networking certifications, Cisco Systems is king. And a quiet but strategic battle is brewing between Cisco and Microsoft: Microsoft’s best customers are ISVs (independent software vendors). Cisco’s best customers are VARs. With those facts in mind, Cisco is racing to recruit more ISVs, and Microsoft is taking aim at networking VARs.
Buried within this Microsoft press release, the software giant briefly mentions that 2,500 of its partners have earned the Unified Communications Solutions competency. It’s easy to dismiss such numbers, but plenty of Cisco rivals could never hope to make similar claims.
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