Microsoft has admitted that a number of existing partners will not "make the grade" after the software giant overhauls its channel strategy.
The firm unveiled changes to its certification programme earlier this year, and all partners must re-certify to keep their current status.
From 1 January, to receive Gold Partner status, resellers must amass a total of 80 points in skills, including licence and software asset management, network infrastructure and security. Lower-tiered Certified Partners must secure 50 points.
"Any partner that qualifies for our old scheme before January will automatically be 'grandfathered' into the new programme, with 12 months to re-qualify," said Eric Gales, director of the SMSMP managed partner group at Microsoft.
"A lot of research has gone into [the strategy] and we have had a very positive reaction to this from partners. But it is not going to suit everybody."
David Hurley, managing director of Gold Partner Anglia Business Computers UK, said the move was long overdue.
"This is more of a customer-facing initiative. If a partner does a poor job it reflects badly on the rest of the industry, but the new accreditation means customers know what they are getting and it will be worth something to the channel."
Alex Tatham, vice-president software of global software at Bell Microproducts, praised the revamp.
But he said: "I would like to see Microsoft give accreditation in specific product portfolios, such as education and CRM, which would narrow it down for both resellers and distributors."
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