In our role as ISV Architect Evangelists we often are asked how to start partnering with Microsoft.  Hopefully this will help get some of them started.

 

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ABC’s for Software Vendors who want to partner with Microsoft

 

There are many benefits for Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) who wish to partner with Microsoft.  They fall into 3 main categories:

• Technical Enablement
• Marketing Support
• Software License Grants

In order to provide a consistent means to deliver benefits to all our partners, Microsoft has established the Microsoft Partner Program (MSPP).  The vast suite of offerings represented by the MSPP is designed to benefit both the technical and business areas of any ISV, large or small.

 

For ISVs the program has 3 and one half levels… Perhaps I should explain…

 

The basic levels of the partner program are Registered, Certified and Gold Certified.  ISVs get what could be considered one extra level between Registered and Certified.  This ‘pseudo level’ is the ‘Empower Program’.  As an ISV moves up the ladder within the program, their commitment to the Microsoft platform accelerates and the benefits of the program accelerate accordingly.  Full details of the Microsoft Partner Program can be found on the partner website here.

 

Now for the ABC’s:

Apply

to the program.   Getting started is really simple:  click here, authenticate with a Live ID account and fill in a simple form.  Congratulations! You are in the Microsoft Partner Program!

Become

an Empower program participant.  The Empower Program is the best deal available in software development today.   The program costs $375 for a one year membership and the benefits are huge: 5 MSDN Premium licenses with Visual Studio.NET Professional Edition, 10 ISV Advisory Service Hours and much more.  Full program benefits can be found here.

Certify!

Once you have joined the MSPP and become a member of the Empower Program, it is time to work on becoming a ‘Certified Partner'.   If you followed the links above, you know that the benefits for the certified level are significantly increased above ‘Registered’ and even ‘Empower’.   There is a common misconception that the certification process is difficult.  For ISVs it is quite easy.   First, one of your applications must pass the ‘Platform Test’.  This test is quite straight forward and takes about two weeks.  Production ready applications typically do not have difficulty passing on the first test.  Next, you need three customer references for that product. The process of obtaining these references is implemented within the partner site.  The platform test combined with the references qualifies your organization for the ‘ISV/Software Solutions Competency’.    The points awarded for the competency and the platform test give you more than enough to become a ‘Certified Partner’.

 

The Microsoft Partner Program provides a wide variety of resources to you.  Here is a list of the most important: