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Laplink Revamps Partner Program, Gives Windows Migration Discounts

Laplink Software, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner based in Bellevue, Wash., has rolled out an upgraded channel partner program for PC resellers, VARs and system integrators.

The Laplink Channel Program, currently offered in the U.S. and Canadian markets, is organized into three partner sales models: associate, premier and elite. Partners in the associate level have access to documentation, product demos and webinars. Premier-level partners have access to all associate-level benefits, as well as training programs and the Laplink Co-op Accrual Program.

Partners with the elite designation can take advantage of market-development funds and the Laplink Leads program, in addition to all the other partner benefits.

The three-tiered partner program is aimed at Windows 7 volume licensing with PCmover, Laplink's Windows migration product. To urge companies to upgrade from Microsoft's aging Windows XP operating system, Laplink announced on Tuesday that it has priced PCmover at $950 for up to 1,000 upgrades, or $0.95 per PC.

At that level, the Enterprise edition of the product may be required, which enables migrations or upgrades to be automated and customized. The company also offers a Professional edition that lacks some "advanced" management capabilities. Capabilities of the various PCmover editions are described here.

There are six PCmover editions, with some consumer-oriented products in the mix. The Professional edition might be the choice for IT pros needing to migrate domain users and their profiles to Windows 7. Most of Laplink's PCmover products also support in-place upgrades -- that is, moving from XP to Windows 7 on the same machine (but check the hardware requirements first).

According to Laplink CEO Thomas Koll, Laplink is the only tools provider offering in-place upgrade capability that doesn't require the use of virtual machines.

Laplink's Professional and Enterprise PCmover products even support migrations all of the way down to Windows 95, Koll said in a telephone interview. He explained that while Microsoft puts out some free migration tools, Laplink is more nimble as an independent software vendor and releases more innovations in its tools faster than Microsoft.

XP is currently scheduled to lose free security update support on April 8, 2014, meaning that software vulnerabilities will only get patched through paid custom support from Microsoft after that date. That's a problem for many organizations, especially with most companies still using XP. Microsoft hasn't made it easy for them to move since there is no direct upgrade path from XP to Windows 7. Clean installs and the reinstallation of software will be a job many will face. Laplink, however, offers another way to move to Windows 7.

"Microsoft doesn't off the best opportunity to migrate," Koll said. "One of the reasons is the evolution of the OS itself. Not all applications are compatible. It's not that easy to move stuff -- data settings are OK, but it's very hard to move an application from Windows XP to Windows 7. And with Laplink and PCmover, we're the only company in the marketplace that offers application migration -- nobody else can do that. So we have great advantage over the tools that Microsoft is offering."

PCmover supports migrations over a network, via cables or removable drives. Consumers like using the cable because they have trouble finding another PC over a network, Koll said, but businesses overwhelmingly prefer to upgrade via the network.

Licensing is based per migration or per pair of PCs. A business would license the use of PCmover based on the number of PCs involved, and Laplink offers discounts based on multiple licenses, Koll said. He added that Laplink serves businesses of all sizes, including Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, enterprise customers, universities, city offices and consumers.

IT pros can use a Policy Manager in PCmover that will allow them to customize details of the migration or upgrade. The product can be used for a no-touch migration or it can enable very high touch capabilities, Koll explained.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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