D&H Distributing has expanded its partnership with Microsoft to focus on the education market.
The Harrisburg-based distributor last month began selling Microsoft licenses for software products specifically tailored to the education market and plans to increase solution providers' credit lines for education orders.
D&H's Gary Brothers says the distributor is helping drive more revenue for Microsoft.
D&H regained Microsoft full product licensing in the spring, and the education focus started last month, Davis said. Education solution providers have slowed their Microsoft purchases over the past couple of years, and Microsoft has charged D&H with regaining some of that market, he said.
"Our goal is to bring them back. We'll do that through a variety of means,aggressive marketing and outbound sales. We'll make it easier to source Microsoft products," Davis said.
"Microsoft wants to expand its academic presence beyond Office and FrontPage," said Lee Wicker, senior buyer at Journey Education Marketing, a Carrollton, Texas-based solution provider. "They're looking to things such as Visual J++ and Visual Basic. I don't think they need a lot of assistance selling Office."
D&H, which has been a Microsoft OEM distributor for about five years, is actively fighting piracy along with Microsoft, said Gary Brothers, president of D&H. "We were recently put back in the loop in the full package product in the licensing side, specifically to try to bring them incremental business [and] drive legitimacy," he said. "We'll be making some strong promotional campaigns to help legitimize that channel and drive more revenue for Microsoft."
D&H mined its database of solution providers to increase credit lines, in some cases doubling them, Davis said. The distributor also participates in a Microsoft program that offers education customers $25,000 in instant credit interest-free for 90 days, Davis said.
"Microsoft started it out as a test program last July and they just keep extending it," he said, adding that more than 1,000 D&H solution providers have signed up for the credit program so far.
Microsoft chose D&H to regain customers in the education space because of the distributor's strength in that market, Davis said.
Education-related sales account for about 25 percent to 30 percent of D&H's revenue, he said, adding that he expects education to account for about 50 percent of the company's Microsoft licensing business.
D&H has created SKUs with education-related discounts for Microsoft Office and other licensed applications, Davis said.
To complement the Microsoft initiatives, D&H created a separate search engine for licensed software, Wicker said.
"One of the hardest things to find on a distributor's Web site is licensing product," he said. "It gets mixed in with boxed product."