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One solution provider said Microsoft is reacting to the flood of iOS devices in corporations in a way that makes sense.
"Microsoft sees iPads and iPhones coming in everywhere, and they accommodate them nicely by licensing Exchange ActiveSync, so that those devices work well as Exchange e-mail clients," said the source, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of his relationship with Microsoft. "This, I believe, is a huge reason for corporate adoption of iPads and iPhones."
The costs of joining the Apple Consultants Network and obtaining MTC certification may also present a barrier to a full-scale Microsoft channel partner migration to Apple.
Individual ACN memberships include a $60 non-refundable application fee, and Apple charges $695 for a company agreement with one location and certified consultant. Adding a consultant to an existing location costs $250, and adding another location with a certified consultant costs $550.
"The costs of ACN and MTC definitely keeps it from being a no-brainer," said Michael Cocanower, president of Phoenix-based Microsoft solution provider ITSynergy. "$750 a year is not insignificant, and it does cause me to think more about the decision."
The final step to MTC is a two-day, $400 iOS workshop that focuses on strategies for providing secure access from mobile devices to services running on private networks.
Daniel Duffy, CEO of Valley Network Solutions, a Fresno, Calif.-based solution provider, approached Apple about joining MTC but declined after being told that Apple couldn't offer an estimate of leads he would get in return for his investment.
"This sounds like a good idea, but I'd expect them to be able to tell a potential new partner how much activity their ACN site is getting each month," he said.