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Microsoft Ups Support Services, Downplays Partner Conflict

Everything considered, this is probably a good thing for most Microsoft partners and customers. After all, anything that Microsoft can do to better serve the companies that invest in its technologies is a good thing, right?

Probably. But Microsoft's announcement this week that it would introduce a Premier Mission Critical Support level did raise some concern that Redmond might be moving in on partners' territory. The new support offering will give customers credits if they don't get a response from Microsoft to their support calls within 30 minutes -- and that's 24 hours a day.

Now, as the article linked notes, that might be a little bit of a problem for big vendors such as IBM or HP, which generate revenue from supporting Microsoft software. Redmond is predictably downplaying any direct competition with those partner-rivals, but this does represent Microsoft's second expansion of enterprise support in the last six months.

For the average partner that's not a global mega-vendor, though, the new support option seems mostly like a positive development. Those partners that actually generate revenue specifically from taking support calls might not like it too much, but for those VARs, consultants and other channel players that aren't offering 24-hour assistance, Microsoft's Mission Critical effort could serve as another selling point for Redmond's wares.

The cynic might note that Mission Critical Support is another step that Microsoft is taking toward having direct contact with customers, but with Redmond still generating the overwhelming majority of its revenues through the channel, we're not really worried about Microsoft abandoning its partners. No, we're looking at this as good news for most of the channel. And that's always welcome, right?

What's your take on Microsoft stepping up its support efforts? Send it to lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on February 04, 2009 at 11:55 AM


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