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Microsoft Sweetens the Security Pot

Not everybody who responded to Tuesday's newsletter was thrilled with Steve Ballmer's Microsoft's-way-or-the-highway WWPC keynote.

Wayne wrote to say:

"If Steve Ballmer wants to ramp up the Microsoft strong arm business tactics, I will start selling Linux packages. I am NOT going to turn my back on other companies that I have partnered with. I plan to provide my customers the best computer services that can be found in (I won't reveal where he is -- just in case --LP). If I can NOT provide solutions that fit my customers' needs and can only provide the Microsoft solution to continue my partnership then COUNT ME OUT!"

Well said, Wayne. And you're not alone. David's not happy, either:

"I like Microsoft (sort of), but when they start hammering anyone that doesn't toe their line, it just makes me... angry. I knew it wasn't an accident that the Security Center didn't recognize my Norton Anti-Virus installation, but I'm really tired of their arrogance. It's no wonder the EU is hammering them daily. If the apps my company needs to operate were available on Linux, we'd be there in a heartbeat."

Serial RCPU e-mailer Matt also chimed in with this gem:

"Pushing all Microsoft no matter what isn't going to fly if you want to have long term credibility with your clients. My clients look to me to determine what works best for their situation, not what is easiest for me to source and integrate. Asking clients to put full trust in Microsoft for their security is a little like asking Ted Kennedy to teach driving safety."

Driving safety is a bit of a sensitive issue in Boston this week, Matt, but we get your (very funny) point. And William chimes in with a thought-provoking history lesson:

"Having spent more time in the computer industry than I really want to remember, I know of another company that took the same attitude that Ballmer is now shouting. Maybe he should look at how far down IBM went with that attitude and then concentrate on putting the product on the market that makes us want to follow his wishes instead of feeling we must follow."

All valid points, well articulated. Now, with all of that said, let's give Microsoft its due, at least on the security front. Some of the incentives the company announced this week at the WWPC could end up being very sweet deals for partners. Partners that take part in the new Security Software Advisor Program can get some fat referral fees for sales of Antigen and ForeFront applications -- 20 percent of the sale price of the product, and 30 percent with a special deal Microsoft is offering for the next seven months. That's on top of the original partner margin for the sale. VARs can also get a 5 percent fee on renewals of existing products on top of normal margins.

In order to participate in the SSA program, partners must be at least registered members of the MSPP. Then, they must then either be Certified or Gold members of the Security Competency program or eligible for that certification, or be Sybari partners, or be top-tier member of another security vendor's program. Hey, we're not promoting the all-Microsoft, all the time concept, but this is definitely worth a look.

What do you think of SSA? Let me know at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on July 13, 2006 at 11:53 AM


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