Microsoft partners protest upcoming Partner Network changes

The Microsoft sign outside its headquarters
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Disgruntled Microsoft partners have set up a petition to voice their disapproval of the upcoming changes to the Microsoft Partner Network programme.

The Redmond giant recently announced a revamp of the initiative which will come into effect from October 2022, including a name change to the ‘Microsoft Cloud Partner Program’.

The firm revealed it has simplified it into six solutions partner designations anchored in the Microsoft Cloud: Data & AI, Infrastructure, Digital & App Innovation, Business Applications, Modern Work, and Security. Partner capabilities will also be categorised into two groups: the solutions partner level and specialisations and expert programmes.

“Our ongoing investments in partners are designed to help expand your capabilities to create value in the market, to connect with customers, and to win new business,” Microsoft said in its announcement.

However, a new petition set up by one unhappy member suggests the reshuffle is not actually in the best interests of partners – and it seems to have struck a chord, with the petition gathering almost 600 signatures and counting.

“The upcoming changes in October 2022 to the Microsoft Partner Network program are yet another attempt by Microsoft to eliminate their loyal 400,000 partners across the globe,” the petition states.

“When you look at the upcoming requirements being placed on Microsoft Partners in October 2022 the emphasis has shifted into ‘sell, sell, sell’ at all costs.”


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In a blog post by Microsoft corporate vice president and channel chief Rodney Clarke, the company revealed that all partners will need to earn a ‘Partner Capability Score’ of at least 70 out of a possible 100, based on certifications, added customers, successful deployments and overall growth.

“A partner must achieve at least 70 out of 100 which for the vast majority of partners out there will be impossible to achieve as it's heavily biased toward ‘new sales’. It seems there is no reward for loyalty...” the petition opposed. “Once a Partners Capability Score falls below 70 they will be stripped of all their partner benefits.”

It continued: “This unwelcome change to the Microsoft Partner Network is being touted as a good one for Partners and their customers however the only person to really benefit from this change is Microsoft. A program which heavily emphasizes ‘new sales’ can only benefit Microsoft.”

Microsoft has not responded to the petition but said in its initial announcement that it would be offering “considerable support” in the build up to the new program, with no immediate changes for partners.

Daniel Todd

Dan is a freelance writer and regular contributor to ChannelPro, covering the latest news stories across the IT, technology, and channel landscapes. Topics regularly cover cloud technologies, cyber security, software and operating system guides, and the latest mergers and acquisitions.

A journalism graduate from Leeds Beckett University, he combines a passion for the written word with a keen interest in the latest technology and its influence in an increasingly connected world.

He started writing for ChannelPro back in 2016, focusing on a mixture of news and technology guides, before becoming a regular contributor to ITPro. Elsewhere, he has previously written news and features across a range of other topics, including sport, music, and general news.