Microsoft has confirmed local partners will get a slice of the action as it prepares to invest $US30 million worldwide in more than 45,000 certifications.
Project Athena will see Microsoft getting partners up to speed on a raft of products and updates due in the next 18 months. These include Windows Vista, Exchange Server 2007 and a new Windows Server environment.
Microsoft partner group director, Kerstin Baxter, said the local channel would receive Project Athena funding but would not be drawn on financial details.
"It's still early days. We're just closing off the fiscal year and making plans for the new one," she said. "After that, we will be looking at gaps in the Australian marketplace and where we want to invest."
Microsoft has already revealed it intends to find 40 per cent of 30,000 new technical specialists and 15,000 new IT professionals in the US. Baxter said the worldwide team had three key partner growth focus areas: IT professionals, database skills and developers.
Microsoft funding for the project is designed to subsidise partner training. According to Baxter, the funding is partly a response to channel requests.
"A need for the right skills is an inhibitor for partner growth as well as our own and we need to continue investments like this," she said. "In the past year we've had 4000 people earn certification and we want to build on that. We want to be prepared not just for the coming year, but the years ahead."