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Microsoft Waives Fee for New Windows Competency

Microsoft on Monday launched a new Windows and Devices Competency, designed to highlight Microsoft partners with expertise in Windows 10 and mobility, with a fee waiver for partners who sign up for the silver level in the next two months.

The competency becomes the 29th competency in the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN). However, Microsoft announced plans last week to retire a dozen competencies over the next 18 months, including a Devices and Deployment competency that the Windows and Devices competency partially replaces.

"We had introduced the Devices and Deployment competency back with Windows Vista," said Gavriella Schuster, general manager of Microsoft Worldwide Partner Programs, in an interview. "The new Windows and Devices competency is based on Windows 10 and a lot of the new devices in the market. We want to shift partners out of this kind of amorphous Devices and Deployment competency, which also included Office and other things, and shift them into the Windows and Devices competency so customers understand that these are the partners that can help with Windows 10 and mobility."

The new competency was originally announced at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in July 2015.

Some benefits of the new program include 50 additional product licenses for partners' internal use at the silver competency level and 100 additional licenses at the gold level.

Microsoft currently has four skills assessment path options -- system builder, deployment partners, Internet of Things (IoT) device builders, and application builders. Microsoft plans to release details later for a Certified IP path and a performance path for partners who are already selling Windows 10 devices.

Microsoft is also offering a short-term waiver for the silver competency fee. "To help you invest in your future, this silver competency fee is no-cost (through June 30, 2016)," Microsoft's Web page for the new competency reads. The gold competency will cost $4,730 for U.S. partners.

Posted by Scott Bekker on April 18, 2016 at 2:20 PM