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Microsoft Financing Back on the Fast Track

Program expands to rely on a broader base of banks worldwide.

Microsoft Financing returned to its high-profile role at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in 2010 after disappearing from the limelight the year before.

Microsoft raffled off a Ford Fusion (pictured above) from the show floor in Washington, D.C., this summer as a way of calling attention to the program, which provides customer financing -- and immediate payment in full to partners - for deals that include Microsoft software and hardware or services.

At the WPC 2009, when the Great Recession was at a more severe stage, Microsoft Financing was nowhere to be found.

"We were never dark. We were always able to do transactions," says Brian Madison, general manager of Microsoft Financing. But he also acknowledges, "There was definitely an impact."

One impact was that CIT Group Inc., Microsoft's partner in the credit market in the United States, was struggling in 2009 and declared bankruptcy in November of that year. "They're not a current partner," Madison says.

Microsoft is spreading its business around more now among financial institutions, giving itself more fault-tolerance when it comes to financial institutions. In the United States, for example, Enterprise Partner Group business goes through Bank of America, SMS&P business goes through PNC Bank, and state and local government financing comes through GE Capital. Another seven banks service Microsoft partner and customer needs worldwide, according to a slide deck from the WPC.

According to Madison, the feedback from partners using the program now has changed from pre-recession years. "When we first started this, it was 'we can sell more!' These days, we're hearing the partners talk about the cash flow benefits."

				
		

About the Author

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