As mentioned on CRN Online earlier this week, the two vendors unveiled their joint initiative – the HP and Microsoft Frontline Partner Programme – during HP's EMEA Preferred Partner Conference in San Francisco. The programme is aimed at the virtualisation and unified communications (UC) space.
Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer (pictured) gave a keynote speech earlier in the week, highlighting the importance of Microsoft’s top partners, many of which are also HP Preferred Partners.
“We have 80-90 per cent overlap of partners in this room,” Ballmer said. “From a Microsoft perspective, our strategy is built on collaboration with partners. HP is very unique among the global partners that we work with because of its focus on the partner channel. We also both share a love of the partner community that is also a deep dependence.”
The Frontline Partner Programme is open to Microsoft Gold level partners and HP Preferred Partners (initially HP partners that have specialisations relating to the vendor’s Enterprise Storage Services (ESS) group).
Antoine Barre, vice president Solution Partners Organisation at HP said: “This new programme is leveraging the existing HP and Microsoft agreement that dates back 10 years. The programme is going to be highly exclusive with the top partners from the HP and Microsoft side.”
Wolfgang Eberman, vice president, Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partner Group at Microsoft, added: “We are going to support our joint partners from a pre-sales and post-sales technology perspective. The virtualisation market is going to double over the next five years and we feel we can double that working together with HP.”
Once a partner has successfully applied to the Frontline Partner Programme, they will be given special branding and from July 2008 onwards they will be able to subscribe to offers through a dedicated portal.
This will also give them access to an additional six per cent margin on the hardware side and up to 10 per cent additional margin on the software side, the two firms said.
On top of that, Frontline partners will also be offered co-marketing training, demand generation and other additional sales material.
Interested partners can start applying now by logging onto HP’s Smart Portal which can be found here. http://h20375.www2.hp.com/portal/site/publicsmartportal/
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