back to article Cruel Microsoft will drive us into arms of iOS, Android, warn resellers

Microsoft has axed rebates paid to its distribution channel partners that flog Redmond's server and communications software. The Solutions Incentive Programme, which pays out a reward for securing sales, was announced to the Microsoft Partner Network in October 2011, giving those that are certified specialists the ability to …

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  1. Shagbag

    Good News

    MSFT won't be paying vendors a kick-back? Presumably, prices have come down accordingly. Wait. No. Oh Noes! Prices haven't fallen!

    Supplier kick-backs are never good for the consumer - witness what the FSA has done with 'Independent' Financial Advisors.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Good News

      Seems fair enough to me - they only get a bonus for flogging the premium stuff. Don't forget that they already get a percentage of the sale anyway....

  2. Jon Green
    Facepalm

    This is just part of a trend

    Microsoft seems to be setting out to annoy its key customers and advocates at the moment. Witness the butchery of the TechNet programme: far fewer licences available, on far fewer products, but the same old price.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is just part of a trend

      I'm a technet subscriber and I blame the lack of licences/software on people using it in production and blatantly pirating workstation software. It's for personal development, not for your mate's PC, a lot of people don't seem to understand this. I can't say that I blame MS that much, although I'm not happy about it.

      1. Jon Green
        Terminator

        Re: This is just part of a trend

        @AC - I could tolerate it on the basis of the reasons MS gave...but when they reduce the value of the programme by somewhere between 50-66%, and keep the price the same, that rankles. That _really_ rankles.

    2. M Gale

      Re: This is just part of a trend

      I still remember when that retail reward shit started up.

      Saved up just enough points for a full copy of Win XP or Office. Went to reclaim.

      And they'd pumped the points value up to insane amounts, impossible to achieve even if you did every single damned test on the site. I might be waaaay out of retail sales now, but if that's an indication of how Microsoft is (still) treating people who sell its products... well.

      Fuck you, Microsoft. Fuck you with a barbed wire dildo.

    3. streaky Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: This is just part of a trend

      They're talking nonsense anyway, they're obviously not going to get any love from Apple nor Google so Microsoft are probably laughing themselves out of their chairs.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    Humbug

    ""This is another classic case of Microsoft moving the goal posts. A lot people sell SQL Standard and this will hurt," said one Microsoft partner that spoke on condition of anonymity."

    Then your whole strategy has been flawed from the getgo and you have no one to blame but yourself IMVHO. Because it seems you're not selling Microsoft products and services for what they are, but for the bonus you may get from selling those.

    But shouldn't that bonus be the profit you're hoping to get with selling these products and services to begin with?

    My (small!) company is also a Microsoft Partner and reseller at that. And although the whole idea looks neat we're not trying to sell Microsoft based solutions with the sole motivation of grossing in extra money from Microsoft. We sell stuff (on certain occasions) because we think - depending on situation and customer - that it is the best solution for the situation.

    In that same strategy we also sell Linux solutions. Guess what; there's no "Linux company" out there which will give us an extra bonus if we manage to distribute an X amount of Linux servers. Yet companies still manage to make money from Linux solutions; even though everyone can download and use Linux for free.

    As such my conclusion is that companies who solely rely on extra bonuses have a flawed market strategy to begin with.

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Humbug

      Was there an incentive prior to October 2011?

    2. Arctic fox
      Thumb Up

      Re: "Humbug" I agree entirely - top post. I would also add that if one really wants to.......

      ..............see a company with a carnivorous attitude to third party resellers and the like then Redmond is (strangely enough) by far from being the worst (although they are very far from being choir boys in this context).

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/03/01/apple_magnetic_ipad_stand_patent/

    3. CABVolunteer
      Unhappy

      Re: Humbug

      "We sell stuff because we think - depending on situation and customer - that it is the best solution for the situation."

      But "best" for whom? From Microsoft's perspective, getting the customer to buy Premium Enterprise and Business Intelligence editions rather than Standard is much "better", so they intend to promote this by changing the incentives for the sales force. What are the odds that solutions offered to the customer will suddenly no longer include the Standard (non-rebated) versions?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Humbug

      Wise words there sir.

      "companies who solely rely on extra bonuses have a flawed market strategy to begin with."

      Surely, 'twas ever thus?

      The fact that some certified Microsoft-dependent "partners" can't see how to cope without the, ahem, "incentives" is indicative of something.

      Didn't the same kind of transition from incentive-based box shifting to "solution based" (yuk) value add happen in the PC market a year or five after Dell arrived?

      Anyway, one size (or supplier) does not generally fit all, and if the certified Microsoft dependent folks are finally realising this, it can only be good news for IT departments and end users.

      Interesting times ahead.

  4. Irongut

    What a load of bollox

    How exactly will reducing partner bonuses for selling SQL Server or Lync cause them to sell iOS, Chrome or Android instead?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a load of bollox

      Because iOS and Chrome are well known competitors to SQL Server, err, ahem...

    2. Arctic fox
      Thumb Up

      Re: "What a load of bollox" Indeed. One has to ask whether companies in the.........

      .......software channel are going to say to companies who need a full-song-with-choruses computer operating system "you don't need Linux or Windows, what you really need is a mob os like iOS or Android"*. Riiiiiight, I can see that going down well! The fact is genuinely pro outfits are going to push a solution that they think will work for their client - because repeat business and word-of-mouth is the name of the game if you are a serious company.

      *Mobile operating systems that they might well push if that is what their client is asking them about.

    3. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: What a load of bollox

      "How exactly will reducing partner bonuses for selling SQL Server or Lync cause them to sell iOS, Chrome or Android instead?" Yes, that text in the article was a bit funny. However as a company you can choose what products you want to invest in.

      As for channel partners, why should they not complain, that's part of their job and they have been complaining from the very start, Sometimes it works.

  5. Andrew Peake

    Ermmmm

    "This is further erosion of profitability of our Microsoft business which is taking an unending journey to zero margin."

    If it's an "undending journey", does that mean they never actually reach zero margin?

    1. Euripides Pants Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Ermmmm

      Do you really expect a salesman to understand logic and mathematics?

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    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MS is squeezing the enterprise and channel

      Yet still MS and Windows is far and away more popular than Linux, even when Linux is free.

      1. TheVogon Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: MS is squeezing the enterprise and channel

        Linux is only free if your time has no value.

        And have you tried licensing an enterprise version of Linux with support? It costs much more than the equivalent Microsoft product!

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: MS is squeezing the enterprise and channel

          > It costs much more than the equivalent Microsoft product!

          LIES!

          1. TheVogon Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: MS is squeezing the enterprise and channel

            It really isn't a lie!

            https://www.redhat.com/wapps/store/catalog.html

            1. 1Rafayal
              Windows

              Re: MS is squeezing the enterprise and channel

              @TheVogon

              But it isnt entirely the truth either is it?

              With an enterprise subscription you pay for support only. If you read back on my post, this can be mitigated if you have the right people in your infrastructure team.

              I think the pricing for RHEL isnt the best example to use, a five year subscription for SUSE actually costs a lot less: https://www.suse.com/products/server/how-to-buy/shop.html

              I think it would be fairer to say that the larger the enterprise, the more expensive Linux becomes. And when you factor in that you will need an MS subscription for your desktop users, who - like it or not, will be using a Windows then you get an even greater cost.

              Dont get me wrong, I am no rabid, foaming at the mouth Linux evangelist, but we all need to be a bit more transparent about how much these things cost...

              1. TheVogon Silver badge
                Mushroom

                Re: MS is squeezing the enterprise and channel

                Support costs can't be mitigated, as with Redhat you don't get updates if you don't pay for support....

                The vast majority of Enterprises that use Linux use Redhat, so it's the best example. Anyway, SUSE also costs more than Windows...

                1. M Gale

                  Re: MS is squeezing the enterprise and channel

                  "The vast majority of Enterprises that use Linux use Redhat, so it's the best example. Anyway, SUSE also costs more than Windows..."

                  Disingenious.

                  You are paying for vastly different things with Windows vs Linux. Windows buys you a product and maybe some help to re-install it if you screw up.

                  OpenSUSE buys you anything from the basic "Windows level" of support, right up to 24x7 access with 1 hour response time for high severity cases. Costs are between a few hundred dollars and six grand depending on how much coverage you want, for a five year subscription. One year subscriptions are vastly cheaper. This is assuming you even need support and you're not some high-tech company that rolls its own software and can support itself quite nicely.

                  You're also probably comparing the price of OpenSUSE support with the price of a basic desktop copy of Windows 8, which is already being subsidised heavily by sales of Windows 7.

                  Try like for like. Windows Server datacentre-edition will probably give you similar features to your average Linux. Only a snip at $4,809 open no-level estimated retail price. Basically "as much as we can screw you for, unless you point out the price of a Linux support package, in which case we'll drop those dollars faster than a whore's knickers in the presence of a $100 bill".

                  And let us not forget the money Microsoft is screwing people out of for spurious unproven patent claims. That's probably driving the price of your average Novell product right up.

              2. TheVogon Silver badge
                Mushroom

                Re: MS is squeezing the enterprise and channel

                "larger the enterprise, the more expensive Linux becomes" - well yes that was my point.

                Most enterprises buy the Microsoft CAL or E-CAL packs, so it doesn't really effect cost of the server side. You also need those for SQL, Lync, Exchange, etc. that most Enterprises uses anyway.

                Anyway there are a number of studies on the subject, and they pretty much universally show that Linux has a significantly higher TCO except for niche uses like Webservers and Calc farms.

          2. Peter2 Silver badge

            Re: MS is squeezing the enterprise and channel

            I was quite disappointed to see this reply, since he's actually right for any of the major server distros that anybody would sensibly use for anything mission critical where the business or lives are at stake.

            There is a bit of a difference between running a linux server for hylafax behind a PABX which can redirect faxes to an old fashioned fax machine automatically if the hylafax server packs in, and running something more critical.

            Rational discussion of relevant points it might be a bit more productive than denying a situation exists.

            Because you wouldn't advocate using a non standard home rolled distro on (for example) a box that is storing health records that doctors need to access, would you? I really hope not if it's a system that lives depend on and your the only person in the world who knows what how the system is set up. What happens if you get hit by a bus and there is a problem a week later?

            For sensible distros, over a 5 year period you end up paying more just for maintenance support (ie patches) than you would do for a equivalent Microsoft Server for most small environments, since with Microsofts server products you pay once up front and then get free updates. It starts looking better in larger environments since there aren't CAL's to worry about but it's hardly "free" by any sensible measure.

            Note: this excludes the cost of support since it's assumed that you would have recruited competent staff on the operating system that your buying.

        2. 1Rafayal

          Re: MS is squeezing the enterprise and channel

          An enterprise Linux subscription doesnt cost more than the equivalent MS subscription. On the whole it is either cheaper or on the same level.

          If there was any increase in cost, then it would be an organisational cost, getting in Linux bodies that know their way around.

          If you have been a Linux shop from the word go, then this isnt an issue.

        3. M Gale

          Re: MS is squeezing the enterprise and channel

          "Linux is only free if your time has no value."

          What a load of tired, clichéd old bollocks.

          And what happens when Windows, Office or IIS/Exchange goes tits-up, as they very often do? "Microsoft software: It's only expensive if your time has no value."

          Doesn't quite work, that one.

          1. TheVogon Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: MS is squeezing the enterprise and channel

            Sounds like you need to hire some competent admins where you work.

            1. Daniel B.
              Facepalm

              MS shills make Eadon sound right

              Really. Even if MS ends up being "cheaper" ... what I know MS to be cheaper is on the support part of the contracts. "MS Support" consists in some Indian call center and remote support. RedHat at least will send you a local person for support issues, extra points with being someone I can actually understand!

              1. M Gale

                Re: MS shills make Eadon sound right

                Know what's even better?

                That datacentre-edition license only covers two processors. A four-CPU machine needs two datacentre licenses. Really?

                How many datacentres does anybody know that have two CPUs? Or does Microsoft count "A PC with a whacking big HDD attached to it" as "a datacentre"?

      2. hplasm Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: MS is squeezing the enterprise and channel

        Don't confuse Popular with Endemic.

    2. CreosoteChris

      Re: MS is squeezing the enterprise and channel

      Saw a few Eadon posts recently that I didn't feel inclined to downvote - but it seems the red mist has descended again......

      ......back to the deranged ranting tone, the everything-about-MS-is-pure-evil starting assumption, the lack of nuance, the childishness, theCAPS LOCK at the end......

      Back to the downvotes

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: MS is squeezing the enterprise and channel

        Is this our Eadon?

        http://www.eadon.com/

        To be honest I don't even bother reading his annoying trolling now, I just downrate instantly.

    3. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      Facepalm

      I must be ill..

      When reading the comments section of an MS related article, I find myself looking forward to seeing a ridiculous Eadon rant.

      You can always tell an Eadon post without looking at the posters name!

  7. jason 7
    Pint

    CAPS LOCK UPPERCASE

    Always makes your message seem much more authoritative and impressive.

    I'd love to see if his CV is written in all CAPS too.

    I was presenting my local small business network the other day and a chap had written his intro for me to read out all in caps. So I said "I'll read this as written folks!"

    I read it out load and fast with no punctuation.

    Much beer sprayed across tables. Well it does add impact. Maybe just not the right kind.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sack Steve Ballmer now

    He is ruining Microsoft.

  9. Moeluk
    Angel

    Might i interject?

    Keeping things in perspective, firstly why downvote Eadon? What does it achieve?

    Secondly, ok you can't replace server side solutions with iOS or Android, but the sentiment of the statement still stands for channel and resellers by the looks of things. It strikes me that Eadon is partially right...either MS are genuinely trying to sabotage themselves, or they're trying to do an Apple...and go directly to the consumer, be that in the enterprise or personal space.

    It only needs someone to come along with a viable cheaper alternative, and the majority of the channel will be happy to push the software that does the job and gives them a bigger margin....than selling MS software. This will hurt MS as they start to lose their grip in the 'post-pc world' (sorry i'll brb just got to go and be sick in a bucket after using such a clichéd marketing phrase)

    I mean over the last 18 months, i've dealt with several people from BT to other tech supplier, and every single one has asked 'do you have office 365', why yes we do why? 'Well we could probably do it for you cheaper than what you're paying right now' With pitches like that, it seems that all the resellers are scrabbling for any sort of piece of the pie.

    Yes i'm aware that 'no-one ever got fired for buying Microsoft', but you know what...the human race would never advance if it didn't take risks....and there are tools out there right now, that blow the absolute arse out of what MS can provide right now. A perfect example of this is Prezi... http://prezi.com , i'd never heard of it before yesterday...but my god it makes stupidly powerful presentations, extremely easily. As a result, literally overnight our company is abandoning powerpoint for this stuff, to create truly slick presentations for clients. (btw i'm not a prezi shill, it clearly still has a few issues, like crashing if you load two presentations simultaneously)

    But my point stands, someone only needs to come around and do what MS currently do better, faster, cheaper and without being such utter bastards to the people that keep them alive, and thats it, it's the beginning of the end.

    Remember, if you shit on people on the way up, then they're going to take a fairly hefty dump on you on the way back down

    1. M Gale

      Re: http://prezi.com

      Now that does look interesting. However, from the compulsory "you must have an account", I can guess it's a cloud-based (ie: all your base are belong to us) solution.

      I would like to be wrong.

      1. Moeluk

        Re: http://prezi.com

        I dont think it is purely cloud because the theatre had no inter web connection...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Linux has a significantly higher TCO"

    "a number of studies on the subject, and they pretty much universally show that Linux has a significantly higher TCO except for niche uses like Webservers and Calc farms."

    Like, for example, the relatively recent one that HP did on behalf of MS. Where neither HP (a certified Micrsoft dependent outfit if ever there was one) nor MS will release the raw data, but MS are happy to process it selectively for use in PR material.

    Plenty more where that came from too.

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