MS resellers tempted by $1,000 rebate program

MS resellers tempted by $1,000 rebate program

Microsoft has launched a new channel rebate program to try and bring more resellers and their customers in contact with its increasingly popular Small Business Server (SBS) solution.

Kerstin Baxter, Microsoft's distribution manager, revealed details to ARN of the new incentive scheme for resellers during the Melbourne leg of the Microsoft for Partners roadshow held yesterday. Baxter said the new incentive scheme was designed to increase recognition of the product's ability to provide a "secure connected infrastructure for small business".

Small Business Server is a software suite that includes a server operating system (Windows 2000 Server) as well as Exchange Server 2000, SQL Server 2000, Front Page 2000, Shared Fax Service, Internet Security and Acceleration Server, Modem Sharing Service and Health Monitor 2.1. It is targeted at businesses with five to 100 seats and is sold as a packaged product and under OEM licensing terms.

"We are going to reward those partners who are selling Small Business Server," Baxter said. "We have tried to keep this new rebate program very simple. Partners who sell three copies of the product will receive $1,000 from Microsoft."

Baxter said Microsoft is also asking resellers to register with the vendor online as a SBS reseller and to have at least one staff member complete an online sales training program. Partners will have to procure the product through authorised distribution channels and the three sales must be made during the last calendar quarter of this year (October 1 to December 31).

Baxter said the SBS product -- which runs on the standard Intel- or AMD-based server -- has been around for nearly four years now and saw 40 per cent year-on-year sales growth during the last 12 months. She claims there are benefits for both the customer and the reseller in selling the suite, as opposed to separate products.

"To the customer and to the partner, the idea is that the product has everything you need to run a robust infrastructure for a small business," she said. "Resellers can then put further applications on top of that infrastructure.

"You set it in place. It is well integrated and well tested and then you can build more specific value-add on top of that."

Under the new rebate program, registered partners will also be supported with ready-made brochures and other marketing collateral. Microsoft has made available scripts for outbound sales calls and e-mail templates, which "will hopefully help us to get new partners and our resellers get new customers", according to Baxter.

"Many of our partners have focused more on the desktop space in the past," she said. "This allows them to think about other opportunities. It allows them to move to the next step in terms of delivering business solutions to their small business customers."

The rebate on SBS is a once-only offer. Resellers will not receive $1,000 for every set of three copies they sell. The product has an RRP of $3,318, which covers the Server with five clients. There is a limit to 50 users, and additional client licences are sold in packs of five.

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