In the last 24 hours, two announcements slipped under the covers by Microsoft show that Microsoft really are not interested in partners at all. These announcements apply to both the Action Pack subscription, as well as the Silver and Gold reseller levels. All of these programs come with a yearly fee – some of them the fee is in the multiple thousands of dollars a year. We need to wonder what value there will be now in the Microsoft Partner Program given they are removing things that the partners use and value.
Announcement 1 – No more Internal Usage Rights
Microsoft have release an update to the Partner Network Programs Guide (link here). Internal Usage Rights provided the reseller with the ability to use a limited quantity and set of Microsoft cloud services and software in production within their business. As a reseller the only way to KNOW a product is to use it, and this is intrinsic to us being good at what we do. Microsoft are removing that right and forcing us to pay for everything we will use moving forwards. Like anyone, we have budgetary constraints too, so this will limit what we can use and test and therefore what we are likely to be comfortable to sell. Microsoft say that they still permit use for testing situations, but lets be real, you don’t have the time or resources to test in a test situation and way too often the test situation is limited to specific scenarios. This will have the net effect of limiting what resellers can use and can sell to their clients. No more ability to test in production situations. No more ability to explore the product to find out just how far you can push it. No more ability to promote how much of a product you use, because you’re not going to be able to promote the fact that “we use it and so should you” to clients if you don’t use it.
Edit – July 5th – Included the relevant section of the PDF below where it shows that you are no longer permitted to use them for Internal Use which is the key concern for this item.
Announcement 2 – No more Support Cases
Via this link, Microsoft have revealed that they no longer intend to provide the limited number of free support cases to Partners. On that link they announced;
Starting August 2019, product support incidents will no longer be available for competencies. If you are already enrolled in a Microsoft Action Pack, silver or gold competency and your renewal date falls before August 1, 2019 you will retain the current product support incidents. For partners who subscribe to a Microsoft Action Pack, attain or renew a Silver or Gold competency, on or after August 1, 2019 these services will not be available
Traditionally these were used to help diagnose tough issues and if the fault was found to be Microsoft product or a bug they were credited back. As a partner this gave us a way to ask for help without fear of cost should we have made a mistake in configuring one of the many options that exist. This allowed us to get the help when we needed it. Gone.
Microsoft had a history of engaging with partners, to understand what they need to grow their business and sell their products. In the past, I’ve been involved in many panels where Microsoft have taken our suggestions and really used them to build better Partner Programs. I believe those days are now long gone. I’d really love to see which partners told Microsoft that these two announcements would assist partners to do that. I’d really love to understand why Microsoft thought this was a great idea and would bring value to the partner program. Please Microsoft, help us understand why this is a good move. Show us that you understand our business and our desire to build awesome solutions with your products. Show us that you listen to us the partners!
Shifting Times Wayne. Last year ISV programme was dropped. But then they said it would be replaced. Cloud is it in their minds. Let’s see if they value isv any more than a reseller.
Paul Macdonald says
I agree Wayne, I am struggling to see any value in these programs anymore. I think Microsoft may believe they have sold enough subscriptions to get a stronghold on the masses that they no longer need partners or MSP at all. They can sell through CSP and they do the 1st level help and only they can escalate to MS. Make the dashboard easy enough for an end user to drive. Where have I heard that scenario before ??? Sbs??
Kelvin Kirby says
Almost certainly the death knell for the thousands of dedicated partners that are selling Microsoft technologies to customers around the world. Can’t imagine there’s a happy ending given the massive erosion of MPN benefits in the last 3 years or so. The MPN programme has massive gaps (ISV for one) and the new MPN portal is still riddled with errors and mistakes. Getting hold of anyone for support is tortuous at best.
Andrew Watkins says
A sad day indeed!
The Action Pack must’ve helped thousands of partners get their business off the ground and keep them going. It certainly helped mine.
Hopefully these decisions will be reversed. If not, maybe they need to rename it the Inaction Pack?
Are you sure about that interpretation. My reading of the PDF he said you can use it for internal purposes in production, but you can’t host client production equipment on those licences
Wayne Small says
Hi Lee – No – they are specific in saying that you can’t use them for Internal Use. I’ve edited the document to include a graphic from the PDF above.
Paul Macdonald says
Apparently a typo and they are retracting to on prem licensing and support
can anyone explain what this actually means!? We are a small Silver Application Development partner and virtually depend on the included Visual Studio licences at the silver price of £1500.00 per year.
Are we going to lose this?
Laurence Buchanan says
We are a Silver ISV in Australia. We build fax and SMS gateways http://www.bnsgroup.com.au
I have been lobbying Microsoft Australia through to corporate about their lack of understanding about the real ISV world.
I followed up a few days ago to see what is happening with the new ISV programme. I was told something will be announced in the coming weeks.
they also told me to keep looking at https://partner.microsoft.com/en-AU/isv-resource-hub.
take a look at https://partner.microsoft.com/en-au/solutions/business-applications/isv-overview and click on the ‘Program overview’.
The program overview is very narrow minded in my opinion. Oh it is also focused on MS making money along the way.
All we need like most others is a certified for windows server program to be continued with the benefits.
Not sure what you guys do but Appsource may or may not work for you?
We too use Visual Studio along with Windows Server and other server licenses plus cloud benefits like 365. It is a fantastic benefit for ISVs but I think we will not fit anymore into their vision of a very narrow minded view of ISV development and marketing.
Hope those links help.
Linkedin:https://au.linkedin.com/pub/laurence-buchanan/11/b52/821 if you want to discuss offline.
Kelvin Kirby says
Sign this petition -https://www.change.org/p/microsoft-disapprove-microsoft-partner-network-changes?signed=true
Laurence Buchanan says
This just arrived in my inbox from Microsoft. .
Starting 01-Oct-2019, you’ll no longer be able to enroll in or renew the Cloud Customer Relationship Management (CRM) competency. If your company currently has the Cloud Customer Relationship Management (CRM) competency, it will remain active with no change to benefits until your anniversary date + 30 days.
I think it dovetails nicely for the MSP. We are no longer responsible for their product. For every dollar it has made me it has cost me 3 times as many in long hours, grief, and time that I couldn’t charge for because “I” supplied it. We will sit down and help you buy your server from Dell/HP/Lenovo and your software products from Microsoft and we will manage it for you. Straight hourly charge, no discounts.
We have always encouraged our customers to establish their licensing relationship directly with MS for cloud services. It’s always been clear who’s providing the service. But the loss of IUR for E3, EMS and VS Pro is what will hurt. That’s going to eat directly into our profit and make it a LOT tougher for new guys to bootstrap their own MSP businesses going forward. Those guys – who take business relationships fostered over years and turn them into MSP clients funneled into the MS domain – are still vital to MS products being successfully implemented.
Thomas B says
What I don’t get is the meaning of this sentence after that:
“Product Licenses granted can be used for:
Product licenses for internal use, in a development, test, demo, sandbox, or production
environment for general internal business purposes and not for any type of commercial purpose.”
What I read is that you CAN still use a product general internal business purposes but not commercial purpose. What is the difference?
Thomas B says
Mhh, I think I get it: this paragraph is the current terms. And the paragraph you copied is what will change on July 1st 2020. So you are right, no more IUR.
Ryan O'Dwyer says
Such a disappointing move from MS given how hard we work to upskill in their cloud tech and certifications,
Am reassured that not a single person seems to find this a positive move, thus am astounded they think this is a good move.
Unfortunately Google and MS can abuse their position and there is nothing we can do about it, we all helped them get there!
Beyond installing Office ProPlus and getting an email account working, MS cloud products are very difficult to implement. They can be buggy, finicky and have vestigial ghosts from on-prem products. Partners are vital to field implementation.
I think this move is going to consolidate MSPs in a bad way, because without IUR, it will be tougher for new MSP businesses to start up. Which sucks, because large MSPs are notoriously bad at service. Unless your company is already clearing enough free cash to pay for the thousands of dollars in lost IUR rights, it will be tough to build a play pen in which to test and learn. I’m sorry but trial licenses suck – they are time-bound and cannot be used in the same way that IUR can, which allows real-world implementation. Sure, companies use IUR to run their business but I don’t know any company that isn’t also using it as their primary test bed.