This is a good time to be a Microsoft reseller. To clarify that a bit, it is a good time to be one of Microsoft's smaller reseller partners, selling to customers of a similar small to mid-sized status.
If this fairly loose description seems to cover your business, then rejoice, for Microsoft has singled you out for special attention.
Indeed, a substantial tranche of its plans for what looks set to be a testing year rests on your shoulders.
For primary evidence, see Microsoft's new Transaction Service Provider (TSP) programme.
TSP is being administered by distributors Ideal and Ingram Micro, and they are offering to manage billing and collection for any reseller that wants to outsource that role.
The idea is to take the heat off smaller resellers, enabling them to pass on the benefit of reduced admin costs to customers.
You might, of course, be the kind of reseller that says, "I don't want anyone else managing my billing process. It's integral to my business processes."
But the scheme is entirely optional and won't cost you a penny if you go for it.
Now comes further news from Microsoft of potential interest to its smaller channel partners. The vendor is to invest a hefty $2bn (£1.2bn) during 2003 on developing the sort of applications its SME customers are demanding.
What is not yet clear is whether this sum is for entirely new product ranges or for the development of existing lines as well, such as Navision and Great Plains, or its forthcoming mid-range customer relationship management solution.
Certainly, if Microsoft is counting the soon-to-be-relaunched Office suite as part of this push, then it doesn't sound like such a big gamble after all.
But let's give it the benefit of the doubt and assume that the vendor really is putting its shoulder behind the small business wheel with a view to taking incumbents such as Sage by storm.
Since it appears that the reseller channel is its preferred route to market for this crucial strategic move, let's give it a cautious welcome.
Conspiracy theorists will have their own views on why Microsoft is so hot on the whole SME application space.
Some will suspect that the firm is uncertain how it can contain the rise of Linux in the data centres of its larger enterprise customers, and is moving defensively down market.
For further evidence of this, see its vast expenditure for the hearts and minds of home PC buyers, games players and assorted gadget freaks.
But if you're in the firing line for some of this charm offensive, for the moment at least, why grumble?
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