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Making Forefront Sweeter for Partners

The deals to entice partners to pitch Microsoft's new Forefront security line just got sweeter.

Microsoft on Thursday announced an increase in the advisory fees paid under its Security Software Advisor (SSA) program and an expansion of the program to include enterprise licensing agreements.

Microsoft is unaccustomed to paying such high percentages of its licensing revenue back to partners who influence sales, although the company has some similar programs in other product lines. Microsoft's preferred model involves taking its own revenues from license sales, with a slight margin going back to distributors, and leaving it up to partners to figure out how to add value in consulting services, installation and maintenance services, hardware sales, customization or add-on applications.

What's different here is that Microsoft is angling to take a big piece of the enterprise security market from major competitors, and that's the way business is done in this market. While Microsoft has been selling Internet Security & Acceleration Server for some time, it is new to the market with the Antigen product line it acquired from Sybari and its Forefront brand of enterprise security software.

When the SSA program launched in July, Microsoft's advisory fees topped out at 20 percent, although partners who signed on to the program in the first 90 days were eligible for an additional 10 percent. Now that 30 percent is a permanent fixture of the program. Originally, the agreement only covered purchases under the Open, Select A and Select B licensing programs. Now the advisory fees are also available to partners with customers purchasing Forefront products under Select C, Select D and Enterprise Agreements.

To qualify for the fee, a partner must belong to the Security Software Advisor program. There are currently 1,700 partners in the program. To join the program, a partner must be a Registered Member of the Microsoft Partner Program and have either the Security Solutions Competency or be a member of the former Sybari partner program or a top-tier member of another security vendor's partner program.

You can read Microsoft's announcement here.

See Lee Pender's feature on Microsoft's security strategy from the Redmond Channel Partner magazine November issue.

Is Microsoft making the right moves to help you sell its fledgling enterprise security software? I'd like to hear your opinion at sbekker@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Scott Bekker on December 14, 2006 at 11:57 AM


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