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Small Business Specialist Community Gains Momentum

The Microsoft Small Business Specialist Community (SBSC) is on the march, with 80 percent growth in the number of new partners reported over the last year, according to Allison Watson, corporate vice president for Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Group.

At the Worldwide Partner Conference in Denver, Watson said there are now 4,200 members of the SBSC in the United States and 12,800 members worldwide.

Small businesses are a customer category that every major IT vendor wants to tap. Microsoft defines the space as companies with fewer than 50 employees, a category that includes 40 million companies worldwide spending $40 billion a year on software.

Those customers are notoriously hard to reach, and Microsoft's approach is to create a large community of specialists to take its software to small businesses. The community is carved largely out of Microsoft's massive Registered Member tier of its partner program -- about half of Small Business Specialists are at the Registered level. While the growth of the SBSC is certainly strong, it's not going as quickly as Microsoft hoped when it launched SBSC in July of 2005 or even when RCP asked about the program's potential last November.

In late 2005, Microsoft had hopes to have 5,000 U.S. Small Business Specialists by early 2006 and 20,000 worldwide by now. Last November, with enrollment at 3,100 in the United States and 9,800 worldwide, Microsoft still had hopes for 5,000 U.S. members and 14,855 worldwide by the time of its Worldwide Partner Conference.

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 11, 2007


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