Microsoft Expands Big Easy

By Sara Driscoll  |  Print this article Print

Microsoft has expanded its Big Easy program to include more products and greater subsidies.

Microsoft has injected an additional $3 million into its Big Easy program, aimed at helping small businesses with the cost of IT, and expanded the scheme to include higher subsidies and new licensing options.

The Big Easy program was launched in February and offers SMBs a subsidy to spend with the VAR of their choice on technology. Microsoft has already spent $10 million on the program and will now invest a further $3 million. It has also opened the scheme up to include higher subsidies on Windows Server OS and Small Business Server products, Open License and Software Assurance coverage for SQL, Window Server and SBS, and Open License for Office Project.

Eric Ligman, Senior Manager U.S. Small Business Community Engagement at Microsoft, said the scheme will also be retrospective. "If a small business has purchased any of the software that we have now opened out to include from February, then they will get the subsidy back," Ligman said.

After a user makes a purchase of one or more of the specified Microsoft products, they fill out a redemption form on the Microsoft Web site. The user then chooses which partner they would like to spend the money with, so, Ligman said, it could contribute to money discounted from training on the product or on installation, and the check is made out to the solution provider that the user chooses.

"We now have multiple product lines in the scheme, so the more products an SMB purchases, the higher the subsidy they receive to spend with a VAR," Ligman said.

However, Ligman did admit that the money could be spent with a VAR that did not make the original deal. "It is possible that a user could choose to spend the money elsewhere, so we have been advising our VARs to help the customers with their redemption forms, and walk it through with them online," he said.

Big Easy was originally designed to help VARs and small business with the plethora of Microsoft offers by putting them all under one umbrella, which Ligman said was "hard for SMBs to consume and get the most out of." He added, "This helps SMBs with the cost of services, which can typically cost more than the software, and helps drive end user and VAR engagement," he said.

The Big Easy program will run until June 27, 2008.

Sara Driscoll began her journalism career at 16 years old on her local newspaper, The Watford Observer. Working part time, she covered a range of beats. Leaving to complete her Journalism Degree at Bournemouth University, UK, Sara then went on to graduate and work for Emap. She began as a reporter on APR, Emap's construction title, being promoted to senior reporter with a year.Sara then joined VNU Business Publications as Deputy News Editor on CRN, the weekly trade title for channel players. She covered industry/business news from vendors, distributors and resellers, product announcements, partner announcements as well as market and trend analysis, research and in depth articles to predict up and coming trends in the sector. She was promoted within a year to News Editor, a year later to Deputy Editor and the following year became Editor. Sara remained editor of CRN for three years, launching the magazine on new platforms including CRN TV and eBooks, as well as several magazine and web site redesigns. She was called on for expert industry comment from various publications including appearing on live BBC news programs. Sara joined Ziff Davis Enterprise as Editor of eWeek Channel Insider. She runs the title in all formats – online up to the minute news, newsletters, emails alerts and events. She also manages the brand of Channel Insider in all formats - events, shows, awards, panel debates and roundtables.Sara can be reached at:sara.driscoll@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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