If there's one vendor the IT channel needs to be firing on all cylinders, it's the mighty Microsoft.
Luckily for CRN's audience, the channel-oriented, Redmond-based software giant has seen its purple patch under Satya Nadella accelerate since the pandemic struck.
Revenues in Microsoft's most recent quarter hiked by more than a fifth, with Azure up by more than 50 per cent. Active Teams users have rocketed from 75 to 250 million since April 2020. And with a market cap of $2.3tn, it is currently in a battle with Apple for the status of the world's most valuable company.
Now more than ever, the channel is reliant (possibly overly reliant) on Microsoft's fortunes, with almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of UK channel partner execs who took the 2021 Vendor Report choosing to rate Microsoft as one of their top-five vendors.
That's up from 47 per cent in 2019.
But how is this mighty software giant really viewed by its channel partners?
The CRN Vendor Report 2021 saw 335 execs at UK channel partners score and submit frank written feedback on their top vendor partners from 0-10 in four categories.
Microsoft - which received nearly 700 written comments - emerged as one of the top-performing vendor giants in the report. It also ranked one place higher than in the 2019 iteration.
But although its technology and training were widely lauded, it was a mid-table finisher for Channel Strategy and Account Management, and ranked well down the pecking order for Margins, Leads and Incentives. HPE, Lenovo, HP Inc, Cisco, AWS and IBM were among the vendor giants to outscore it in this category.
Sample Microsoft comments from the report
"Microsoft have a technology leadership in most areas they play in. Their influence is huge, and they are the benchmark for every other vendor," alliances manager, large reseller
"There have been some indications that Microsoft's long-standing focus on partners may start to erode - with more movement towards direct sales. Smaller partners struggle to get access to Microsoft - even via phone or email. This is the case even where they are significantly focusing on Azure and adding new customers for Microsoft," services director, small consultancy.
The full Vendor Report features a six-page summary of how Microsoft fared (for more information on how to obtain the full report, please contact [email protected]).
CRN Essential subscribers can read a summary of how Microsoft did here.
View five key takeaway from the CRN Vendor Report 2021 here.