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The Partner Program Points Dicussion: S. Somasegar, Corporate VP of Microsoft's Developer Division Responds

The Partner Program Points Dicussion: S. Somasegar, Corporate VP of Microsoft's Developer Division Responds

By way of introduction, the discussion continued below began in our May 2004 issue with an editorial Derek Ferguson wrote entitled "On Partners and Points." In that editorial, Ferguson questioned the validity of the new points-based system that Microsoft has recently introduced for its Partner program. Specifically, he suggested that the strong emphasis on software certification over developer certification in the new system might over time lead to a de-emphasis by organizations on getting their developers certified. This editorial generated a stream of comments from our own Editorial Board, which were printed in last month's issue.

This month, S. Somasegar, Corporate VP of Microsoft's Developer Division, has written a letter to our readers intended to clarify Microsoft's position on their new Partner program. The fact that he has taken the time to directly address our readers like this is greatly appreciated by all of us here at .NET Developer's Journal.

S. Somasegar, Corporate VP of Microsoft's Developer Division:

"Microsoft is committed to the education and training of developers and MCSD and MCAD are two great certifications for developers to undertake, to ensure they keep up to date with industry trends and are able to deliver applications that meet an enterprise's requirement in areas such as security and scalability.

As I am sure you understand, our Partner program needs to address the many different types of partners that Microsoft has around the world. All of the partners have different needs and a different set of criteria against which they need to be judged, especially when you consider an ISV vs. a systems integrator - product vs. developer certification becomes an issue. The program was designed to try to make the process fair and equitable across all partner types. The Partner program also needs to consider the size of a partner. Our Partner program needs to address both a 10 person system integrator and a 7500 person SI.

I understand your points about the percentage of certified developers within an organization and I will pass that back to the partner team.

You are correct; a company can claim 80% of its certification requirements (max 40 points) from developer qualifications and rely on their product certification to get certified. However, getting a product certified is neither cheap nor easy. The quality bar is very high, and the goal of certification needs to be kept in mind from the early stages of development. In many cases, certification/verification can take a whole product cycle to complete and requires a slew of architectural and design considerations to be taken into account.

Our partner program has been very well received since its launch. The feedback I am receiving shows that companies are looking upon the MCSD and MCAD as a valuable asset when recruiting staff, and systems integrators and solution providers are using the number of certified staff they have as a competitive differentiator when bidding for business. ISVs are also continuing to push to get their products certified."

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.NETDJ News Desk monitors Microsoft .NET and its related technologies, including Silverlight, to present IT professionals with news, updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards, and insight.

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