Page 1 of 2
Solution providers Tuesday said Microsoft is making a big mistake by not leveraging its partners to bring its new Surface Tablet products to market.
“Microsoft needs to remember where their bread is buttered,” said Bob Venero, CEO of Future Tech, a Holbrook, N.Y.-based Microsoft partner that also sells Apple’s iPad Tablet. “It would be a huge mistake for Microsoft not to leverage the channel. They don’t have the retail presence or following that Apple has. Microsoft needs the channel.”
Microsoft Monday said that its new Surface Tablets -- the Intel Core-based Surface for Windows 8 Pro and the ARM-based Surface for Windows RT -- would only be sold in Microsoft retail stores in the U.S. and through "select online” Microsoft stores.
Rick Chernick, CEO of Camera Corner Connecting Point, a Green Bay, Wisc.-based Microsoft partner that also carries Apple products, said Microsoft violated one of the first rules of good partnering: communicating product and sales strategies in advance with solution providers.
“We don’t know whether we are going to be able to sell this or not,” he said. “No one has given us any information. The reality is we should know as resellers before consumers or businesses know about any of this so we can advise our customers. If they value us as partners they have to tell us about this stuff a day or two before they tell the world. Otherwise, we look stupid. And I can make myself look stupid on my own. I don’t need manufacturers to help me do that.”
Future Tech's Venero said the Microsoft go-it-alone approach won’t fly in a market where businesses of all kinds rely on solution providers as trusted IT advisors. “The vanilla deployment of Microsoft software products is gone,” he said. “Ninety percent of all software deployments have some type of integration, customization and tie-in to multiple systems throughout the enterprise. That can not be accomplished efficiently and effectively without the solution provider ecosystem.”
“Microsoft should sit down with us like the partners that we have been for the last 30 years and discuss the plan around the Surface Tablet from a customer and partner perspective,” said Venero. “That way we can leverage our existing enterprise relationships and help drive forward what Microsoft is trying to accomplish in the Tablet market space with Surface.”
Venero said he would welcome the opportunity to to discuss Microsoft’s partner strategy with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The Future Tech CEO has met over the course of the last year with HP CEO Meg Whitman, Dell CEO Michael Dell and Xerox CEO Ursula Burns.