Mapping out channel development

Mapping out channel development

Microsoft launched a new developer platform at this year’s TechEd conference and is canvassing partner support.

MapPoint has been available in the US and Europe for more than two years. It allows partners to build mapping applications such as online store locators.

MapPoint business unit manager, Steve Lombardi, said the success of the product was dependent on the vendor’s developer community and partners.

“Out of the box it does nothing, so we’re completely reliant on our partners, developers, and ISVs to build vertically focused applications,” he said.

While the product was a horizontal technology, overseas partners tended to use it across niche verticals such as crime scene analysis, asset tracking or fleet management, Lombardi said.

To aid in its recruitment drive, Microsoft is introducing a licensing program that allows partners to resell marked-up transactions based on a mapping application. Examples include a client featuring Australian locations created by newly signed partner, MultiMap.

“MapPoint Web service is based on usage or transactions,” Lombardi said. “Resellers can purchase transactions in aggregate to get a better price and then resell them to smaller organisations who wished to build applications.”

Partners also stood to make money on the original consulting to build an application and potential hosting fees for companies wanting to outsource the entire running of an application such an online store locator.

The MapPoint approach was viable when compared to freely available online mapping sites, Lombardi said.

“MapPoint is all about business and enterprise focused mapping,” he said. “An insurer wanting to do risk-assessment won’t go and screen-scrape free maps, when a reseller can integrate a map system directly into their business application.”

Tim Lohman went to Canberra as a guest of Microsoft.

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