Microsoft has hit out at claims that lowering the entry requirements for its Authorised Education Reseller (AER) programme is harming the channel.
Earlier this year, the software giant axed requirements that prohibited non-Certified and Gold Microsoft partners from becoming AERs.
Several of the firm's long-standing AERs, who joined before the changes were introduced, claim the move has flooded the education market and is costing them business.
Andy Trish, managing director of AER NCI Technologies, explained: "This has resulted in a glut of people who do not really know what they are doing, selling licensing to schools and charities, and taking business away from the people who do."
Meanwhile, one AER, who asked not to be named, claimed the online test that potential AERs have to sit is no barrier to entry either.
"When you fail the exam, it tells you where you have gone wrong and you simply retake it and become an AER," he said.
Speaking to CRN, Steve Beswick, director of education at Microsoft, said the firm takes negative feedback seriously, but the changes have been welcomed elsewhere.
"There are 30,000 schools in the UK that want to be serviced by local resellers, and lifting the restrictions gives the schools greater choice and opens up opportunities for more of our partners," said Beswick.
"We need to have AERs in every geography. That might mean having two or three in the same area, but competition is a good thing."
Jamie Burke, public sector sales director at Microsoft LAR Softcat, said the education market is so vast that a few extra partners should not make much difference.
"The increased competition will ensure that AERs adding the greatest value will see the greatest success," he added.
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