The Partner Online Technical Communities are one of the best kept secrets at Microsoft.  Actually, they are not a secret, but I keep running into Partners that haven’t heard that they have unlimited no-cost support break-fix, developer, and presales incidents for over 50 Microsoft technologies, including:

  • Microsoft Dynamics products
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Microsoft Forefront security
  • Microsoft Intelligent Application Gateway
  • Microsoft Office products
  • Microsoft Office Communications Server
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Microsoft Silverlight and Expression
  • Microsoft System Center products
  • Microsoft Virtual PC and Microsoft Virtual Server
  • Windows Internet Explorer
  • Windows 7 RC
  • Windows Mobile
  • Windows Server
  • Windows Small Business Server (Windows SBS)

As you can see, Windows 7 RC was just added to the list.  These are not newsgroups where you hope someone eventually comes along that has seen your problem before, the Partner Online Technical Communities are staffed by Microsoft employees that guarantee a response time according to the following table:

Response Time

Gold Certified Partners

Certified Partners

4 business hours for break-fix queries

8 business hours for presales questions on any Microsoft technologies.

Small Business Specialist Community

4 business hours for break-fix queries

Microsoft Action Pack Subscription (MAPS)

8 business hours for break-fix queries

Gold Certified and Certified Partners with the ISV/Software Solutions competency

Registered Members in the Empower for ISVs program

Partners with the Custom Development Solutions competency

Web Solution Partners 4

8 business hours for developer questions related to Microsoft ASP.NET, Microsoft Silverlight, Microsoft Expression, SQL Server, Windows Presentation Foundation, Microsoft Visual Studio, C++, and C#.

Registered Members 5

1 business day for break-fix queries

OEM System Builder Partners

2 business days for pre-installation queries

4Microsoft Action Pack Special Edition Web Solutions Toolkit holders
5Registered Partners who do not meet the preceding criteria will receive a one-business-day response time.