Microsoft has upped the benefits available to its Certified and Gold Certified partners for 2002.
Certified partners, of which Microsoft has 2,000 in the UK, are to receive free internal-use licences for several new products including SQL Server, SharePoint Portal Server, Windows XP, Project 2002, Visio 2002 and MapPoint.
The cut-off point for free licences will be 10 for Certified partners, after which they will be eligible for 50 per cent discounts on additional licences for in-house use.
Gold Partners, of which there are 50 in the UK, will get from 10 to 100 free licences, plus the 50 per cent discount on any additional licences. They will also receive a free licence for several new server products, including BizTalk 2000 and Commerce 2000.
However, annual fees that resellers are required to pay to become certified are set to rise from £937 to £1,008.
This is to take into account the current exchange rate against the dollar, the increase in administration costs and the fact that Certified Partner Programme fees have not been updated for two years, claimed Sue Page, partner group marketing manager at Microsoft.
"There are a lot of benefits to being a Certified Partner and we are hoping that these additional benefits will make the programme more attractive to our resellers," she explained.
Microsoft has also introduced two new Gold certifications in security and learning services.
Ross Miller, managing director of Microsoft reseller Trustmarque Solutions, was pleased with the announcements.
"From my point of view, the Certification Programme gives us the opportunity to differentiate ourselves from the thousands of other Microsoft partners out there," he said.
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