Microsoft has responded to partner "uproar" and performed a U-turn on its decision to scrap its EA Management and Deployment rebates, ChannelWeb has learnt today.
The LAR licence agreement changes, which were announced in November, were set to come into force from January, but Microsoft made the last-minute decision to scrap – or at least postpone – the move after a wave of complaints from its LARs, according to channel sources.
The proposed changes would have seen LAR rebates for Management and Deployment scrapped in favour of Renewals and True Ups, which would have been paid annually instead of monthly.
In November, Microsoft claimed that the decision was based on feedback from LARs, but the move did not go down well with everyone, with some LARs claiming it would cost them "significant" amounts of money.
Microsoft told ChannelWeb today that the most recent change of heart was also down to partner feedback.
An anonymous source told ChannelWeb that there was "massive outrage" from some partners following November's announcement.
The source said: "There was significant negative feedback regarding not only the changes themselves, but also the timing of them; it left [LARs] no time to prepare."
Microsoft said in a statement: "Microsoft remains committed to moving to an outcome-based versus an activity-based incentive model; however, based on partner feedback, we made the decision to postpone the removal of Manage and Deploy in Corporate Account Incentives until 30 June 2013."
Microsoft told a select few partners about its change of heart this week ahead of an expected official partner announcement on Monday.
Stuart Fenton, EMEA president of LAR Insight, said he is pleased Microsoft is challenging itself.
He said: "We are pleased that Microsoft has been challenging itself to improve the programme for partners. Perhaps the most recent [rebate] changes were undercooked and Microsoft has taken on feedback and postponed these changes until they can be more refined."
Microsoft is holding off on any further rebate changes until the end of its financial year in June, a move backed by another anonymous source.
The source told ChannelWeb that the channel was cautious about rebate changes mid-year and was awaiting a better thought-through proposition.
They said: "They probably released the info [on the changing rebate structure] without thinking it through, and now they have gone back to the drawing board. I think it is the case that Microsoft had to respond to concern and make sure there was a more robust picture of how its fees are applied."
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