Helping Microsoft 'Get it

By Sharon Linsenbach  |  Print this article Print

Few doubt Gates influenced Microsoft’s channel philosophy, but the sheer bulk and inertia of a 400,000-strong partner program will roll on with or without the company’s founding father.


Doug Ford, president of Microsoft gold partner The IT Pros, says he still struggles to help Microsoft "get" his business, which brings in about $5.2 million a year.  He says while he enjoys the benefits of MSDN subscriptions and on-demand support, he doesn't have much direct contact with the vendor whose software he sells exclusively, and he doesn't see that changing at all with Gates' departure.

"We sell Microsoft software exclusively; their basic Office software, Exchange, so maybe they think we're just like any other partner," says Ford. "We really want someone to take an interest in us and help us capitalize on the software, the integration opportunities, but no one has really done that."

Compared to his experiences with Network Appliance and even Dell, Ford says his experience with Microsoft's channel program isn't much to write home about. Dell, he says, invited The IT Pros to its inaugural channel summit meeting, where Ford and some of his staff got "hours of facetime" with Michael Dell. 

Compared to that, Microsoft seems downright uninterested.

"We've gone through a bunch of reps by now.   One did call who seemed actively interested in our business and wanting to help us build it, but then the programs and support she pitched to us were all for SMBs with, like, five or six desktops, and that's just not us.  She -- and they -- don't seem to get our business," he says.

Ford says he understands that it is difficult for a large company such as Microsoft to give individualized attention to every partner, and that there's still plenty of value and opportunities with Microsoft's products.

Sharon Linsenbach Sharon Linsenbach is a staff writer for eWEEK and eWEEK Channel Insider. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, Sharon was Assistant Managing Editor for CRN, a weekly magazine for PC and technology resellers. Before joining CRN, Sharon was an Acquisitions Editor for The Coriolis Group and later, Editorial Director with Paraglyph Press, both in Scottsdale, AZ. She holds a BA in English from Drew University and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her significant other and two neurotic cats. When she's not reading or writing about technology, Sharon enjoys yoga, knitting, traveling and live music. Sharon can be reached at Sharon.Linsenbach@ziffdavisenterprise.com.