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Can these marriages be saved?
It depends. It will take Microsoft a few more years -- perhaps many more years -- to replicate the storefronts, customer relationships and higher-value service offerings that are currently delivered by its VARs. Examples of Microsoft partners that should continue to do well are CDW and Softchoice, which feature strong Microsoft practices, desktop services and nonenterprise customers.
But over the long haul, if Microsoft is successful at implementing an Apple-like business model, its partners will need to develop new markets, new strategies and new partners to grow revenue and value.
Those that don't will find themselves locked into a marriage without sex -- with all the hard work that goes into making a relationship work without any of the rewards.
Marty Wolf is founder and president of martinwolf | M&A Advisors. Marty has been directly involved in the divestiture of six Fortune 500 divisions and has completed more than 115 transactions in the IT services sector. A frequent commentator and guest blogger for leading business and IT media outlets, Marty also acts as a counselor and trusted adviser to CEOs of select IT firms.
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