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Partner Backlash Leads Microsoft To Reverse Course on IUR Retirement

Microsoft is reversing course on a plan to revoke partners' ability to use internal use rights (IURs) to run their businesses after a substantial partner backlash.

"Given your feedback, we have made the decision to roll back all planned changes related to internal use rights and competency timelines that were announced earlier this month. This means you will experience no material changes this coming fiscal year, and you will not be subject to reduced IUR licenses or increased costs related to those licenses next July as previously announced," said Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president of Microsoft One Commercial Partner, in a statement posted on Microsoft's partner portal on Friday.

Since the mid-1990s, Microsoft has encouraged partners to use IURs to run their business on Microsoft software, further familiarizing partners with the software and services from Microsoft that they sell or recommend to customers. The IURs were available as part of the program membership fees, and the licenses for Windows desktops, servers and other elements of the stack were often worth much more than the cost of the membership.

In recent years, IURs were extended to include cloud services, and Schuster said in interviews this week that the cost of providing the cloud services was consuming a disproportionate share of Microsoft's partner budget and necessitating cuts to other partner benefits.

The now-canceled plan would have changed the mix of IURs starting in October and retired IURs entirely on July 1, 2020. Product licenses still would have been available for business development scenarios. Those changes, plus a plan to cut off partners' on-premises support incidents, prompted a contentious Change.org petition titled "Disapprove Microsoft Partner Network Changes," which had more than 6,000 signatures as of Friday.

The decision to roll back all the planned competency changes also means that on-premises support incidents will continue to be available to competency and Action Pack partners.

In her statement, Schuster apologized for the confusion and noted that a key determining factor in rescinding the changes was partners' trust in Microsoft.

"As we move forward, we commit to providing even more advance notice and consultation with our partner community to mitigate concerns and address issues up front," Schuster wrote.

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 12, 2019 at 9:18 AM


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