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Where is Microsoft's $4 Billion Investment in Partners Going?

An odd thing has been happening in the Microsoft channel over the last few years. Every Microsoft partner we ask tells us they're getting less marketing money and other direct investments from Redmond than they got in the past. Yet every year, the amount Microsoft says it invests in the channel goes up.

After the Worldwide Partner Conference, we thought that maybe this year Microsoft had given up on the storyline of ever-increasing partner investments. The usual bearer of the good news, Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner, didn't mention partner investments in his WPC keynote, sticking, instead, to data points about research and development investment. (He said that could reach $9.5 billion in Microsoft's FY 2011.)

It was Turner's WPC speech in 2009 that Microsoft used to announce a $3.3 billion investment in partners for FY '10. The year before, the company said it was spending $2.9 billion, and the year before that, $2.3 billion.

But Microsoft is kicking around another big number for 2011 after all. According to a statement on Microsoft's Partner Portal, "Microsoft has always been committed to partners and invests over $4 billion per year -- more than any other technology company." That would be a massive $700 million increase year-over-year.

Unlike last year when I wrote a similar, head-scratching post about Microsoft's stated level of partner investment, I do have a theory this year. I'll flesh it out in RCP's November issue. Stay tuned!

Posted by Scott Bekker on September 30, 2010 at 11:58 AM


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