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Microsoft Intros Lync Incentive for Partners

Microsoft is putting some new partner incentives behind Microsoft Lync to try to capitalize on the buzz surrounding its unified communications solution set.

"We're going to increase the incentives for partners that lead with Lync as their communications solution, whether on-premises or in the cloud," said Microsoft's top channel executive, Jon Roskill, in a keynote this week at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. "This brings the power of our solution incentive program to Microsoft's next billion-dollar business."

In an interview, Ashima Singhal, Group Product Manager for Lync, said, "The idea behind this program is to reward partners who drive Lync transactions."

Microsoft large account resellers (LARs) previously were the only partners to get direct revenues from Microsoft in on-premise Lync or Office Communication Server deals.

Under the new program, solution providers who drive the deals will get up to 20 percent margins on first-year revenues on net-new Lync licenses for voice and conferencing, Singhal said. Those partners will get 10 percent margins on net-new Lync licenses for instant messaging, she said.

Singhal said Lync joins a handful of other products singled out for solution provider margins at the moment.

Other similar incentive programs should be coming. During his keynote, Roskill said that Microsoft is working to broaden its partner payouts in FY '12 on more products. In all, Microsoft plans $5.8 billion in channel investments, including solution incentives, over the next 12 months, he said.

Microsoft executives were especially bullish at WPC about the prospects for Lync to experience hockey-stick growth in the coming year.

In his keynote on Wednesday, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner, equated enterprise excitement around Lync to consumer excitement around the Kinect motion controller for Xbox.

"I have yet to demo that product and not see customers light up like you're showing them Kinect in a retail mall. It's a lot of fun to show that product," Turner said of Lync.

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 15, 2011 at 11:58 AM


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