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Microsoft Channel Investment To Go Up in FY 2009

Microsoft COO Kevin Turner gave his annual closing speech at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference this morning. While he provided mostly a roundup of announcements from throughout the week, he did have a big piece of news.

Turner announced a $600 million increase in the Microsoft investment in its channel. The latest figure I'd heard was $2 billion. But Turner said Microsoft invested $2.3 billion in fiscal year 2008 (which ended in June), and will invest $2.9 billion in FY09. For those of you keeping score, that's a 26 percent bump.

Back when Microsoft put $2 billion into the channel, nobody else in the industry was close, as far as we know. This increase makes that gap even bigger. Meanwhile, the company will invest $7 billion again in research and development for FY09, Turner said.

So how many hands are reaching for a piece of that partner investment pie? Turner cited the figure of 645,000 partners, and said Microsoft had signed up 50,000 new partners this year. Some 400,000 of those partners are actually registered in the Microsoft Partner Program. The rest are unregistered companies who partner with Microsoft outside the formal program.

Partners interested in getting access to the money may need to use a different approach than in the past. Microsoft insiders tell us that a lot of the channel investment money is more centralized than it used to be, with general managers in the field having less discretion over the cash.

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 10, 2008 at 11:58 AM


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