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A Gold Rush

The number of Microsoft partners boasting Gold Certified status has been booming, both in the United States and worldwide.

According to the latest Microsoft Partner Program enrollment figures provided to RCP by Microsoft, Gold Certified partners have been going up both globally and in the United States. The number of Gold Certified Partners worldwide is up 17 percent this year to 16,000. In the United States, the number of Golds is up 67 percent to 5,000. Worldwide, the number of Certified Partners is up nearly 5 percent to 18,000. In the United States, Certified Partner rolls dropped 17 percent to 6,000.

Stepping back to look at the Microsoft Partner Program over the last few years shows a program skewing heavily toward Gold certification. In 2005, there were 3,500 Gold Certified Partners compared to 16,000 today – a 350 percent increase. At the same time, the size of the overall program has increased only about 68 percent.

Put another way, in 2005 there were seven Certified Partners and 59 Registered Members for every Gold Certified Partner. Today there is roughly one Certified Partner for every Gold Certified Partner, and there are only 23 Registered Members for every Gold Certified Partner.

While the market may feel tight to the Gold Certified partners out there, here's one thing to keep in mind: When Microsoft created the Gold Certified level in October 2000, the idea was to highlight the top 10 percent of partners. Even with the explosive growth in Gold Certified Partners, fewer than 5 percent of partners are Gold Certified.

It will be interesting to see if the changes coming through the Microsoft Partner Network will be designed to change these ratios at all. What do you think? Is the Gold field too crowded, OK or too sparse? Send me your thoughts at sbekker@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Scott Bekker on June 18, 2009 at 11:58 AM


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