Novell To Charge For Entry-Level PartnerNet Membership

Next year, the Waltham, Mass.-based software vendor plans to change the name of its entry-level authorized rung of its three-stage PartnerNet program to Silver and begin charging participants at that level, CRN has learned.

A $295 annual program fee will be charged for Silver membership in PartnerNet. Having at least one Certified Novell Salesperson (CNS) on staff will also be a new requirement for Silver partners, according to Novell.

"The authorized-level [partners] got pretty much nothing, but there was no cost involved," said one Novell partner who received notification of the changes this week. "Now you need to be a CNS for Silver and pay $295, whereas before it was free," said the partner, who requested anonymity.

Silver partners, however, will get an added perk of access to Novell's Software Evaluation and Development Library, according to Novell. The library gives partners limited trial licenses for Novell offerings such as NetWare, GroupWise, ZenWorks and SuSe Linux products. A $295 discount off Novell's annual BrainShare partner show also will be given to Silver partners, according to Novell.

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Access to Novell's co-marketing collateral builder program costs Silver partners an extra $300 per year. The collateral program is free to Platinum and Gold partners, according to Novell.

The approximate value of the benefits offered to Silver partners is $2,000, according to Novell. No changes will be made to PartnerNet's Platinum or Gold levels, Novell said.

A Novell spokesperson said any partner currently at the authorized level who doesn't want to commit to the Silver level can still be part of Novell's channel community and get regular PartnerNet news.

Jordan Rosen, president of Lille Group, an Albany, N.Y.-based Novell partner and member of the vendor's channel advisory board, said he was notified about the PartnerNet changes this week. "The changes will help generate the specialized expertise that Novell is looking for in its partners," Rosen said.