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Small Business Specialists Community Hits 20,000

In an aside to a press release about a sponsored small business study last week, Microsoft stated that the Small Business Specialist Community is almost up to 20,000 members worldwide. It's a substantial number, representing substantial growth.

I checked the number with a Microsoft spokesperson, who confirmed that it was correct and current (about three weeks old).

Small Business Specialists are a subset of Microsoft partners. The designation is distinct from the Registered Member, Certified Partner and Gold Certified Partner levels of the program and denotes, obviously, companies with expertise in meeting the needs of small businesses.

Microsoft officials frequently point to SBSC as an example of something that's being done right, and say that other areas might be appropriate for SBSC treatment -- such as, say, an Enterprise Specialist or a Public Sector Specialist. That kind of specialization has been mentioned as a possible part of the Microsoft Partner Program overhaul that the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group is working on.

The SBSC program's growth, while impressive, hasn't been as fast as Microsoft had hoped. Launching SBSC in July 2005, Microsoft had hoped to hit 20,000 members worldwide by 2007. By July 2007, however, the program had 12,800 members. Judging by the new numbers, growth is slower but steady and strong -- giving Microsoft one of the most formidable stables of SMB-focused partners in the industry.

Posted by Scott Bekker on March 31, 2009


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