Microsoft Partners Protest Decision to End Internal Use Rights
… part of our ROI for the partner program status.”
Ryan Finnesey, managing director with Inpora Technologies, which provides Microsoft services to small and midsize businesses, said in an interview that he has spoken with several partners since word of the change started to surface late last week. Rescinding IUL will hurt many of the partners, especially the smaller providers with fewer than 10 employees, Finnesey said.
“A lot of them really relied on these benefits to run their businesses,” he said. “I think that they’re trying to limit the number of partners they have.”
In addition to the cost, partners say the ability to use the software internally at no added cost plays a role in their competency and expertise in the various products. Partners who can’t afford to pick up the tab said they will lose out on the ability to refine their expertise in Microsoft’s products.
“By running it internally, we can dog-food it,” Johnson said. “It’s a lot different when you’re actually using software in your business than it is when you’re setting up a proof of concept or a lab. When you are actually using it in your line of business, you’re not going to see the warts and you’re not going to see the daily pain points.”
Many partners see this as the latest strike from Microsoft to bypass them in favor of distributors or selling direct. Steve Mordue, a Microsoft Dynamics 365 MVP and CEO of gold partner Forceworks, said that might be true, but it also might not be such a bad thing.
“The whole Microsoft partner network is a legacy construct from a prior time when software was sold and supported a completely different way than it is now,” Mordue said. “Many of the partners are legacy partners that have been around forever. So we get this knee-jerk reaction from many of them whenever Microsoft makes any kind of a move like this. But I don’t think it’s just meanspiritedness. I think it’s Microsoft; [it’s] just one of the levers they’re pushing and pulling on to try and remold their channel into the future.”
Mordue said he will just pay for the software his company uses internally. But he said he’s happy to do so if the benefits are more valuable than IUR.
“I’d rather have the new direction, provided that I’m part of it,” he said.
According to Microsoft’s statement, partners will benefit over the long term.
“While we understand this may be an adjustment for our partners, we believe the evolution of our partner business investments will allow partners to better capitalize on the cloud opportunity,” the company said.
Partners attending next week’s Inspire conference plan to meet with channel chief Gavriella Schuster and David Willis, corporate VP for the U.S. One Commercial Partner Group at Microsoft.