Confusion reigns supreme in the channel over Microsoft's decision to restructure its channel service programs.
From April 1, all Microsoft sales partners will be automatically switched to the new Direct Access support program, and a new phone number will be introduced.
The software giant also has a premium program, Solution Provider, for channel partners who sell, support and provide services for Microsoft products. Direct Access is the broader program for resellers not in the Solution Provider program.
However, the managing director of development tools reseller Microway, David Looke, expressed his discontent for Direct Access when contacted by ARN last week [subbed]. Looke was angered about being charged for accessing information through Direct Access. He believed resellers would be charged for pre-sales service, where under the previous system it was free.
"At a time when software is becoming more complex ... Microsoft should be increasing their support to resellers, not reducing it," Looke said.
Microsoft director - organisations customer unit Geoff Wright, admitted the software king had not effectively communicated information about Direct Access to its channel partners.
He said the new scheme was complex and required detailed explanation.
Wright emphasised there would be no charge for pre-sale support, while post-sales support would maintain its existing fee structure.
The Direct Access program provides resellers with free pre-sales information on the phone, demonstration products at reduced prices, a fortnightly e-mail service, access to a closed Web site, regular briefings, training seminars and the Direct Access Action Pack (DAAP). While there is no fee to join the Direct Access program, resellers must pay $399 (esp) for the optional DAAP.
The DAAPs will be released throughout the year, focusing on different issues. The first pack will be centred on the Small Business Server, with anti-piracy and SQL server information in the pipeline.
Microsoft Direct Access
Phone (02) 9870 2121