We’ve been doing a guest blog series this fall with the Microsoft Partner Network Experts (see part 1 and part 2) to help answer some frequently asked questions about the new network. For you newer partners, the Experts have put together the benefits of doing so, and for you veteran partners, there’s a response about how your organization’s current competency-branding and software benefits are being impacted.

Q: Why should a partner attain a competency?

A (from the MPN Experts): Silver competencies and their associated gold competencies can help partners:

  1. Differentiate their business in today‘s competitive environment and demonstrate their expertise by aligning to how customers make purchasing decisions, making their certification recognizable to prospective customers.
  2. Capitalize on benefits specific to their customer offering or area of expertise including channel incentives, internal-use software, a Microsoft brand and support services.
  3. Align their business with Microsoft to help realize healthy business growth and profitability.
  4. Acquire new technical and business skills and expertise with free, online, on-demand readiness from the Learning Plan Tool.

For more information on the value of attaining a competency please see the value of earning a Microsoft Competency Guide.


Q: How will my brand and software benefits be impacted as the program transitions to the network?

A (from the MPN Exerts): To ease the partner transition for Microsoft Gold Certified and Microsoft Certified Partners, we’re extending the usage period for both the Gold Certified and Certified Partner brands, as well as the software provided at the Gold Certified or Certified levels. This means that current Gold Certified or Certified partners can retain use of their existing brand or their existing software benefits until October 2011, regardless of which membership opportunity they choose to renew into between October 2010 and October 2011. 

Software usage rights include:

  • Internal Use Rights
  • Development Tools and Subscriptions (MSDN and Tech Net)
  • Demonstration Use Licenses
  • Training Use Licenses

It’s important to note however, that while Gold Certified and Certified Partners can continue to use their respective partner brands and software, after October 2010, the brands and software will not be available for download.