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Microsoft SSA Referral Fees Jump to 45 Percent

Microsoft is upping the ante to get partners to sell its security products. The company is increasing the referral fees for partners who participate in the Security Software Advisor (SSA) program.

Microsoft launched SSA in July 2006 for Registered Members who earned the Security Solutions Competency or had equivalent expertise. The initial deal offered 20 percent to 30 percent referral fees to partners to spur sales of Microsoft's Forefront and Antigen products.

Now through the end of Microsoft's fiscal year (June 30), Microsoft is raising referral fees for partners to as much as 45 percent of the security deal size. The fees come when the security software sales are included in the same invoice as a sale of other Microsoft products, such as Windows Vista, Exchange Server or SharePoint Server. Microsoft is also throwing in partner goodies for sales, such as a GPS, home theater system, camcorder and digital camera.

Potentially moderating the value of the referral fees for partners are simultaneous customer discounts of 15 percent to 30 percent to generate new business.

Microsoft's image in the security market got muddy on Nov. 18, when the company announced it would stop selling the consumer-oriented Windows Live OneCare in the second half of 2009 and would replace it with a free anti-malware offering code-named "Morro."

At the time, analysts at Gartner warned their enterprise customers not to read too much into the consumer move. "Microsoft's exit from the standalone consumer security business should not be interpreted as a lack of commitment to research labs and security products for the enterprise space. We believe Microsoft will remain committed to its labs and endpoint security offerings through at least 2012," analysts Arabella Hallawell and Neil MacDonald wrote in a research note.

The analysts reported seeing an uptick in interest and pilots, despite a limited number of full production deployments, of Forefront Client Security.

Posted by Scott Bekker on March 20, 2009 at 11:58 AM


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