A petition started by a Microsoft partner in response to proposed changes to channel internal licensing use rights and on-premises product support incidents has reached more than 2000 signatures and is continuing to climb.
Launched on 7 July, the petition doubled its initial target of 1000 signatures, and was put together following Microsoft's proposed changes to partners that subscribe to Microsoft Action Pack, Silver and Gold competencies.
The petition’s creator, a Melbourne-based partner who gave his name as 'George', said it was refreshing to see partners unite for a common cause when they’re pushed into a corner. Since the article was published on 9 July, the figure has risen beyond 3000 signatures.
He added that he intends to use the petition to "kindly" ask Microsoft to reconsider its position regarding the Partner Network changes.
From 1 July 2020, Microsoft is planning to cut off free internal use association for product licenses for Microsoft Action Pack, Silver and Gold competency subscribers, meaning partners will have to purchase these licenses via a commercial arrangement.
The vendor also plans to retire on-premises product support incidents currently included with Silver and Gold competencies and in the Microsoft Action Pack, the latter which is used by smaller partners. These changes will be effective when partners renew their existing competency or subscriptions from August this year.
In addition, from 1 October core product licenses included with competencies will be specific to the competency partners attain, meaning licenses included in memberships will have to be purchased in full.
“For some partners, this is going to cost them thousands of dollars a month extra,” the petition stated.
In a statement to ARN, a Microsoft spokesperson admitted the program changes were due to the “wide-ranging impacts” of cloud computing, claiming the moves will help partners “capitalise on the opportunities possible with cloud”.
When ARN asked if Microsoft had seen the petition, their response was "We're continually looking at where and how to make investments in our partner business to create the most value for our partners. We outlined our approach to these investments in a recent blog post, ‘Investing in partner success and growth.’
"Like any business, we need to prioritise where we are going to commit funds. In this case, we made the decision to invest more heavily in programs and resources that support business growth, helping partners connect with more customers, other partners, and Microsoft sales teams."
Microsoft added one of the trade-offs is changing its approach to providing product licenses for internal use.
"We will continue to offer product licenses for dev/test scenarios and to win business, and the internal use rights won’t change until July 1, 2020 to allow time for partners to plan.
"While we understand this may be an adjustment for our partners, we believe the evolution of our partner business investments will allow partners to better capitalise on the cloud opportunity,” the Microsoft spokesperson said.