Long Live the Logos!

You can't re-enroll as a Gold Certified or Certified Partner anymore, but you can keep using the logos until next October.

When Microsoft flips the switch to the new Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) this month, it's ending the option for partners to re-enroll in the longstanding partner levels of Gold Certified, Certified and Registered Member.

But the Certified and Gold Certified levels will limp along awhile longer in visual form, at least.

In a document on the public portion of the Microsoft Partner Portal called "Prepare for the Microsoft Partner Network," Microsoft explains how partners can continue to use the Certified and Gold Certified logos.

"Continue to use the logos you have today," the site instructs. "After October 2010, replace your competency and specialization names with new competency logos that have been designed based on in-depth customer research and that will help customers better identify your areas of expertise. After October 2010, the current Certified Partner and Gold Certified Partner logos will be retired. All partners must discontinue their use of these logos by October 30, 2011."

Gold Certified and Certified Partners can also continue to use current partner software benefits until October 2011, regardless of which new membership opportunity a partner chooses at the next renewal date, according to the partner portal.

[Click on image for larger view.]
A photo illustration with the October cover story showed a fictitious business card mixing some of the new and continuing Microsoft Partner Network logos. Microsoft provided some feedback on how those logos are more likely to be used (or allowed to be used) by partners. The revised illustration above incorporates that feedback.

This month Microsoft turns on the Gold-level competencies, the last major step in the transition to the MPN. The new competencies became available in May, and now partners have the option of qualifying at either the Silver (basic) or Gold (advanced) level for each competency.

In another time-based update, the nature of the revenue requirements for Gold competencies will change after the first year, according to the Microsoft site. Starting with their rollout last month, the Gold competencies require a commitment to a revenue bar that depends on the competency and geography. After October 2011, partners will be required to meet the revenue bar, rather than merely commit to it.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.