Microsoft is facing a renewed attack from the channel about staff poaching, following the launch of its ?service in a box? support package.
The software giant, in conjunction with Hewlett Packard and ICL, is launching an initiative on 1 July which allows OEMs and resellers to sell branded support services. The service, which is available to resellers and small business customers, will allow support to be sold in units, starting from a two-incident pack at about #40. Five-call, 10-call and 25-call services are also available.
Stuart Anderson, Microsoft services marketing manager, said ?a lot of resellers, especially smaller Vars, were not in a position to offer that degree of service?.
?The ability to sell a Microsoft-branded service without the investment traditionally involved with support makes this package a unique selling point,? he said.
Anderson denied there would be any conflict with resellers that offer tailor-made support services to their customers. ?This is ideal for the reseller that does not have the infrastructure for dedicated support. It?s designed for the distribution tier and there should be no conflict with those partners offering customised support.?
But some large account resellers were alarmed that Microsoft would see resellers as prime hunting ground for support staff. Paul Brenchley, MD of Oxford-based Leading Edge, said: ?It?s potentially bad news for those of us with highly trained Microsoft support staff. I would like to see some guarantee that it won?t poach my staff. It?s certainly happened in the past.?
Last year, resellers criticised Microsoft after it emerged that the software developer had approached some of their staff to entice them to work for it. Brenchley claimed he had had to defend at least three of his staff from being poached by Microsoft.
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