As has been widely reported, Microsoft is ditching the “Gold” designation for its partners. We’re OK with that — in fact, we thought we’d get ahead of the curve and ditch our Gold certification now.
It’s time to renew our Microsoft partner program membership (always an adventure, although somewhat easier than it used to be). Despite the remaining huge shortcomings of the program (don’t worry, I won’t repeat my one million earlier posts on this subject), we’ve decided to renew again. A quick look at the requirements showed we could easily renew at the Gold level, or the Plain Old Certified level, based on the number of “Partner Points” we have (or could accumulate by our renewal date).
BUT a more careful review showed two changes. One, the Gold designation will vanish partway through this renewal period for us. And Two, to achieve Gold, there’s a new requirement that we force our customers through yet another Microsoft “customer satisfaction” survey process. So in exchange for further inconveniencing our customers at Microsoft’s request, we get a tag that will be discontinued shortly? Only Microsoft (and frankly, only the Microsoft Partner Program group) could come up with a new anti-customer requirement just in time for a program to be phased out.
No brainer right? — no thanks.
OH, but you should HEAR the wailing and pleadings from the Partner group. “Do you REALLY want to give up ALL the benefits of being GOLD??” Ummm, you mean the ones you’ll supposedly be taking away this year anyway? Yes. “Do you REALLY want to renew at a REDUCED level?’ Ummm, you mean the level ALL Gold Certified Partners will have later this year? Yes. (I especially like that second argument, which I’ve heard both from humans on the phone and from the automated messages on the Partner Program Web site — “we really don’t think Gold is important, we’re phasing out the program, now we’re stressing ‘competencies’ over simple program level designations, but surely you don’t want to renew at the level of those unwashed masses beneath you?”)
So in any case, look for the handsome blue logo to replace the handsome gold logo we’ve been using, and look for no other differences whatsoever in our fine relationship with Microsoft and its customers. (Except of course for the slight improvement for our own customers — the ones we won’t be hassling with another request for “just 10 or 15 minutes” to fill out another meaningless survey from Redmond. You’re welcome.)