Microsoft Unveils New Programs Aimed at ISVs, Startups

There's never been a hotter time for ISVs, so Microsoft is creating programs to woo these partners.

Lynn Haber

February 15, 2018

2 Min Read
Unveil curtain, introduction, debut

A new Microsoft partner program for ISVs and a new initiative called Microsoft for Startups, both announced Wednesday, only serve to reinforce for partners the company’s commitment to continued growth for its commercial cloud business. Microsoft recently reported that it exceeded a $20 billion commercial cloud annualized revenue rate it set two years ago. 

While ISVs won’t be able to sign up for the new program until later this year, the company is getting the word out to prospective partners now. The program, called the ISV Starter Kit, will allow startups to continue to grow their businesses with Microsoft after they launch their app. 

Here’s how it works: The ISV Starter Kit is an annual subscription that provides the tools partners need, such as Azure credits, development and test licenses, Dev Chat, on-demand technical assistance from Microsoft support engineers, and one-on-one technical consultants to help build new apps or migrate existing ones to the cloud, the company said.

With its sights set on building the “intelligent cloud,” Microsoft offers a number of resources that ISV partners should check out. App Innovation Technical Services, AppSource and the Azure Marketplace are examples.

Microsoft-verified ISV apps get published in one of its marketplaces, either AppSource or the Azure Marketplace. At that point, ISVs qualify for the new silver ISV competency. 

In a blog, Toby Richards, general manager, partner programs at Microsoft, offers more details about the new ISV partner program. 

Microsoft for Startups exemplifies how the vendor is putting money where its mouth is when it comes to the cloud. Committing $500 million over the next two years, Microsoft bills itself as the first major cloud provider to offer co-selling options to startups, in addition to offering technical and business support to help startups grow their customers and revenue bases.

In a blog, Charlotte Yarkoni, corporate vice president, growth and ecosystems at Microsoft, writes that the initiative pairs qualified startups with not only new customers but its vast community of partners as well. 

Microsoft has more than 40,000 sales representatives and hundreds of thousands of partners whose goal is to drive adoption of Microsoft cloud solutions into companies of all sizes and industries worldwide. The program provides dedicated resources to prepare startup marketing and sales teams to effectively sell their cloud solutions to enterprises in partnership with Microsoft’s global sales organization and partner ecosystem, she said. 

Forrester analyst Jay McBain expects the number of ISVs in 2018 to reach 100,000; that’s up from about 10,000 companies a decade ago. Looking ahead 10 years, he predicts that number will hit the 1 million mark. 

“As the shadow channels look to build their own brand and IP as well as flex their hyperspecialized muscles, the code for more than 35 million different customer solutions will surface. Building workflows, algorithms and business logic will be key profit criteria for these new firms, and spinning up a brand today can be done with pennies,” he said.

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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