Shadi Sarir is Express Data's software marketing manager, and says that all of Express Data is geared up to support the channel in rolling out Windows XP. "Our resellers will be selling Windows XP Professional, and mainly as an upgrade product, so it's important that our pre-sales, licensing and support people know exactly what they'll need to know."
She explained that ED focuses on value-added distribution, mirroring the value-add of ED's resellers. "We've run training sessions around the country and we have a dedicated Web site to help resellers and their customers deploy this latest Microsoft operating system."
Asked if it was a problem that Windows 95 was not automatically upgradeable to Windows XP, she said that while this was true for the full product, it didn't apply to users with site licences. We asked what would happen when a reseller was faced with a customer with a mixture of licences plus various full Windows products of various vintages. "The reseller can do an audit of a customer's site, and suggest the best way to proceed, but in the end the responsibility always lies with the end user. If they get a BSAA audit, they're the ones who have to prove that all of their software is legal."
Express Data sales support staff are available to help resellers, either on the phone or in some cases by visiting them. "And for our far-flung resellers, we sometimes arrange videoconferencing to help them prepare for a sales presentation."
Greg Boyle is the Microsoft product manager at Ingram Micro. He echoed Sarir's comments, adding that he felt Ingram Micro staff were better prepared and trained for the rollout than any other distributor. "Any reseller knows that they shouldn't hesitate - get onto your account manager with any question about this rollout. And if the question is one we haven't faced before, the account manager is still the most likely to know the answer, or will immediately find out who does."
He added that Ingram Micro's reseller training program for Windows XP was well underway, continuing through until November. "You do want to win a car, don't you?"