Sun Microsystems will overhaul its partner program in the coming months, with Paul O'Connor, the recently recruited director of partner sales, attempting to win back the support of channel partners frustrated with the vendor's mixed messages in the last 12 months.
Based on the sentiments expressed to ARN by prominent Sun channel partners, O'Connor has his work cut out for him. Over the last 12 months, resellers and integrators have watched as the vendor changed the remuneration of its direct sales staff to ensure it was earning as much revenue from software and services as it had traditionally made from hardware sales.
"The problem is that Sun used to just sell hardware and provide Java to the world. And the world was good," said the managing director of a Sun partner, who asked not to be named. "But now Sun's sales staff, rather than having one sales quota for anything they sell, have a quota for hardware, a quota for software and a quota for services."
These quotas have, at times, pushed Sun's sales staff in direct competition with its partners. "We love Java, we push Solaris, we sell iPlanet sometimes," said another frustrated reseller. "But there is no such thing as a two-way lead at Sun."
In response to the growing conflict, Sun recently appointed O'Connor as director of partner sales, who is making bold promises about changes to the vendor's model.
For the full details on the new model, read this week's issue of ARN, out now.