CRN understands that Microsoft currently has about 20 LARs in the UK, all of which have to pass a tough annual audit process (CRN, 15 September 2003).
Edward Hyde, channel sales manager at Microsoft, said: “We will see a small change to our UK-based LARs. In each country we have a different number of LARs, but it depends on the size and complexity of the market.
“The UK IT market is highly developed and we need it to grow to provide a service in lots of different areas. We constantly assess if we have the right number of LARs and renew agreements in line with our fiscal year,” he added.
“Market share and business volumes are important factors, but they are not exclusive considerations,” Hyde said, adding that the mid-market sector is still a big growth area for the vendor.
One LAR that asked to remain anonymous welcomed the move. “To increase profitability and service capability, reducing the LAR channel will allow the remaining ones to get more out of it. It’s a captive market and Microsoft would see more benefits from its channel if it worked with fewer LARs.
“We have the same number of LARs in the UK that Microsoft has in the US, and that is a far bigger market. It is a necessary move.”
Shaun Fröhlich, executive chairman of LAR Teksys, said: “It is often the case with any quality bar that some partners are going to be at the front of the queue and doing a great job, but some take it for granted and rest on their laurels. If these partners are not doing their job and Microsoft has made a decision to get rid of them, we are not going to complain.”
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