Microsoft Revives Popular Partner Subsidy Promotion


Microsoft Sunday revealed plans to launch the next generation of one of its most popular partner incentive promotions in a move that could mean more dollars in solution providers’ pockets.

The latest version of The Big Easy kicks off March 5, providing subsidies on qualified purchases that customers can use to purchase additional software and services from their partner of choice, said Cindy Bates, vice president, U.S. Small and Medium Sized Businesses at Microsoft, during a keynote address Sunday at the XChange Solution Provider conference in Los Angeles, an event hosted by UBM Channel, the parent company of CRN.

“A check will be sent to [customers] with your name on it to use for services from you,” Bates said. The program, which runs through June 30, provides rewards of up to 30 percent for on-premise annuity-based solutions and up to 15 percent back on cloud-based annuity offerings, she said.

[Related: XChange Solution Provider 2012 Coverage]

Non-annuity solutions are also eligible for the promotion, meaning “the full spectrum of solutions you bring to your customers can be tapped into,” she said.

The rollout of the new program comes as Microsoft is encouraging partners to find ways to take advantage of the growing consumerization trend taking place in many corporate IT environments as growing numbers of employees bring personal devices to work.

“Increasingly, we will all be connected to the people, information, apps and services we need access to, and in a split second be able to share that data as well,” Bates said.

David Geevaratne, president of New Signature, a Washington, DC-based solution provider and Microsoft partner, said the infiltration of consumer devices into the enterprise is pervasive.

“It’s totally real. In my customer base, everyone has their own mobile device in some shape or form, whether it’s a smart phone or a tablet. IT is struggling with how to get those devices to cooperate in a corporate environment, and how to make them secure and manageable,” Geevaratne said.

Bates said Microsoft is tackling those security and management concerns with offerings such as System Center 2012, which will enable customers to manage not only Windows-based smart phones but also devices based on the Apple iOS and Android operating systems.

In addition, Bates also touched briefly on Windows 8, telling XChange attendees that SMB users will find much to like in the forthcoming platform launch, including advances in mobility, security and virtualization.

“We are re-imagining Windows for consumers and business,” she said.