“Effective July 1, 2020, we will retire the internal use rights (IUR) association with the product licenses partners receive in the Microsoft Action Pack and included with a competency. Product license use rights will be updated to be used for business development scenarios such as demonstration purposes, solution/services development purposes, and internal training.”
“In Microsoft lingo, MAPS stands for Microsoft Action Pack Subscription. It’s an affordable yearly subscription which can help you unlock unlimited potential. With software, support, and benefits for businesses, MAPS enables you to begin, build, and grow your Microsoft practice in the cloud-first, mobile-first world!”
Microsoft Action Pack: Partner Policy Changes
Boil down the current statement and 2017 statement, and it sounds like Microsoft will still give MAP partners software and cloud services as part of a proof of concept to win end-customer business. But partners will need to pay to consume various software and cloud services internally — including everything from Window 10 to on-premises server software to Office 365 cloud services, Redmond Channel Partner asserts. The Microsoft Action Pack (MAP) perks were similar to “not-for- resale” perks found in rival partner programs.
At first glance, the new policy — again, effective July 1, 2020 — is a painful blow to partners, especially long-time partners that have seen traditional margins squeezed as the market shifts to cloud services and recurring revenues.
But take a closer look at the shifting partner landscape and perhaps Microsoft’s reasoning becomes more understandable. In the world of cloud services, a lengthy list of businesses are both customers and partners. The key example involves MSPs (managed IT services providers) — which consume business management software (i.e., Dynamics 365) to run their own companies, while reselling and/or deploying various Microsoft cloud services to end-customers.
Although Microsoft’s channel team surely wants to keep partners loyal with free or enticing perks from paid programs, it’s a safe bet the company’s financial department wants to maintain healthy margins on subscription services. And that likely involves increasingly charging all types of partners for consumption. We’re not defending the shift in policy — but we are trying to explore the potential financial reasoning behind it.
SaaS Subscriptions and Partner Fees: What’s Your Policy?
We’re checking in with additional cloud service providers — particularly those in the SaaS business application market — to check their subscription policies and fees for partners.
Article originally published July 7, 2019. Updated July 11, 2019 with Schuster’s statement to Business Insider. Updated July 12 with ZDnet story link. Final update made July 12 with Microsoft reversing course.