Google Apps partners are poised for a hike in their commission which they hope could help them secure more deals against arch rival Microsoft.
Google for Work partner boss Murali Sitaram confirmed in a blog post yesterday that the vendor is rolling out a new, simplified partner programme for its productivity tools early next year.
Although confirmed by neither Google partners nor Google itself to CRN, a report from the Wall Street Journal suggested the new scheme will see top-level partners' commission rocket from 20 to 30 per cent.
"Our existing programmes across Apps, Chrome, Cloud Platform, Maps and Search will fuse into one Google for Work and Education Partner Programme," Sitaram said in the post.
"The new programme allows partners to better sell, service and innovate across the Google for Work and Education suite of products and platforms."
Under the stripped-back scheme, partners will be classified as Premier or Acccredited across three tracks: sales, services and technology.
James Doggart, chief executive of UK Google partner Cloud Technology Solutions, which has rolled out 50,000 Google Apps seats to date, welcomed the news.
"The consensus is that the margins are going up for partners, so that can't be bad," he said. "For me, the new programme looks a lot simpler for customers to understand and also cleans up the engagement with Google. And if the margins are going up, that shows more commitment to partners."
Pontus Noren, chief executive of Cloudreach, a Google partner that employs 25 certified Google Apps engineers, said the programme update will help partners bag more deals.
"Microsoft has been aggressively going after Google, which gave real-time collaboration to the world through Google Apps," he said. "The collaboration aspect of Google Apps is phenomenal and Microsoft spotted that and came late to the game, using its incumbent power to try to push Google back.
"Customers want to deal with channel partners who can supply a full solution. Google's move to strengthen its partner programme and make it more attractive will enable us to invest in winning and delivering its technology."
David McLeman, chief executive of Google Apps partner Ancoris, said he was "delighted" by the new programme.
"As a long-term top-tier Google for Work Partner, we are continuing to invest in both our services capability and in our applications development as a technology partner on the Drive for Work services to help transform the way organisations work in both the commercial and public sectors," he said.
CRN was unable to track down any UK Google partners able to verify the 30 per cent commission figure, with one telling us Google had yet to send it an amendment to its existing reseller agreement.
"If we were to get an additional 10 per cent on the licences, that would release more funds to hire new salespeople or invest in marketing to pick fights with Microsoft," said the partner in question, who wished to remain anonymous.
Doggart at Cloud Technology Solutions said Google has already surpassed many pople's expectations when it first launched Google Apps in 2006.
"When Google entered this space, people didn't give it a lot of hope in competition against Microsoft's heartland and it has surprised a few industry watchers," he said.
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