Software giant Microsoft will be increasing the price for partners taking select certification exams, effective from July.
According to a US report the increase will hit many parts of the world and will affect: Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS), Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP), Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD), Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST), Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA), Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), Microsoft Certified Application Developer (MCAD), Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD), Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA).
A local Microsoft spokesperson explained the price increase reflected the significant value its certifications provide to customers and its continual investment in new and enhanced Microsoft certifications and other program improvements. It would not disclose how much the prices would rise.
“The new fee structure enables Microsoft to improve the certification program,” the spokesperson said.
Examples of proposed improvements include new Microsoft certifications, new question types, frequent updates to certification exams, improved exam security, and driving adoption of Microsoft Certification by accrediting bodies across the world.
“All of these changes reflect Microsoft’s continuing commitment to provide greater value to its customers through the Microsoft Certification program,” the spokesperson said.
Despite the change in fees, the software giant plans to reveal new exam offers at its upcoming Worldwide Partner Conference in July, where it plans to reveal ‘savings’ to partners required to gain Microsoft Partner Network competencies.
Even though the price hike won’t effect, Microsoft BPOS partner, Paradyne, its principal, Loryan Strant, thought the price hike was a good thing.
“It’s too easy for people to find cheat sheets on the Internet and become what is known in the industry as a “paper MCSE” – someone who has used cheat sheets to get through exams but doesn’t actually have sufficient knowledge of the product or technology,” Strant said. “If Microsoft is raising the fees in order to achieve a higher level of quality for exams – I applaud it.”
Microsoft already supplies numerous discounting tiers for pre-purchased exam blocks. For example, if partners purchase eight exams, they get a 30 per cent discount, as well as ‘second shot free’ exam vouchers included in those blocks.
“Realistically any price increase could be potentially offset by the discounts offered by purchasing the exam vouchers,” he said. “Partners need to realise that these changes to the partner program & exams are not to extract greater revenues from partners – but to ensure a higher quality of individual certification as well as partnership engagement.
“If they don’t like the change to the MPN and the raised fees – then they need look at the value they get from their partnership with Microsoft.”