Channel Watch

Wanted: More Windows Intune Licenses

For some reason, Microsoft is being stingy with the partner licenses for Windows Intune, the cloud-based systems management and security toolset that launched in March.

With most of its products, Microsoft shrewdly showers partners with free (or nearly free) licenses. Encouraging internal usage creates familiarity, and that comfort with new products generates sales. For some reason, Microsoft is being comparatively stingy with the partner licenses for Windows Intune, the cloud-based systems management and security toolset that launched in March.

Partners enrolling in the free Microsoft Cloud Essentials program get 10 internal use rights (IURs) for Intune. By comparison, they get 250 IURs for the Business Productivity Online Suite and 250 IURs for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. Partners who meet some sales requirements reportedly get up to 25 Intune licenses, but even that is only 10 percent of the IURs for the more-established online products.

A generally glowing IDC white paper commissioned by Microsoft noted partner complaints about the small number of Intune IURs.

"Partners mentioned that Windows Intune is one of the (very few) Microsoft products for which they don't get a relatively large number of free Internal Use Rights seats," wrote IDC analyst Darren Bibby. "Partners pointed out that this discourages internal use and the hands-on experience that brings."

So we asked Microsoft what the thinking was behind limiting Intune to 10 IURs, and if there are any plans to increase the number.

A Microsoft spokesperson responded with this statement: "We have seen great interest in Windows Intune from our partners. Since Windows Intune is a new service, we set the IUR at 10 PCs and as we get more data on the costs of operating the service, uptake of the offer and feedback from our partners, we may change it over time."

To be sure, 10 IURs is in line with the IURs in an Action Pack subscription, lower than the 25 normally granted for client products with silver competencies and much lower than the 100 generally granted with gold competencies. But that's on-premises thinking, and the relevant comparisons here are to the other Microsoft cloud products, which are being handed out, appropriately, like it's a fire sale.

Normally, Microsoft gets it when it comes to seeding the channel with products. Windows Intune has a very strong value proposition (See "Microsoft Gets Serious About MSPs"). But this is not a high-demand, established product, and many partners won't trust it until they've kicked the tires at some scale. The sooner the company removes that 10 IUR barrier, the better Intune's chances to get traction with the partner community will be.

Would you be more open to selling Windows Intune if you had more internal licenses to play with? Let me know your thoughts at sbekker@rcpmag.com.

About the Author

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

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