A petition condemning Microsoft's changes to its Partner Network (MPN) has been signed by more than 2,500 partners worldwide and counting.
The petition was started on 7 July and summarises the key benefits being withdrawn in a series of moves by the vendor.
"In announcing these changes it's clear Microsoft is going to war with its partners," wrote the petition's author, who went only by the name of 'George'.
Signatories were outspoken in the comment section of the entreaty.
"Our company has been a Microsoft partner for nearly three decades and for a number of years now it feels like they are trying to push us out of their ecosystem," wrote one commenter.
"These changes are pure greed and designed to push the majority of partners away so Microsoft can lap up the residuals with their sub-standard support and service.
"Re-think this, Microsoft, or you will have a partner revolution on your hands!"
Another commenter called the changes a "deeply short-sighted" decision, while another called it a "kick in the guts" to partners.
"This is Microsoft behaving like a drug dealer," wrote one disgruntled signatory.
"Having made [it] economical for us to get 'addicted' to making internal use of MS products, they now take advantage of our dependency and use it to extort money from us.
"Many of us will have to switch to alternate and more affordable products. Suddenly we will be more expert at those other vendor's solutions, and wanting to shift our customers over to them so they can also enjoy the savings."
Analyst house Canalys also waded into the debate, tweeting at Microsoft to "rollback" on the changes in order to prevent devastation in its SMB channel.
New changes to the @Microsoft partner program, including increased customer acquisition requirements and lower financial incentives have provoked a backlash from its #microsoftpartner network. It must roll back on some of these changes or it will damage its SMB channel #canalys— Canalys (@Canalys) July 5, 2019
Last week it was revealed that the vendor would be withdrawing internal usage rights for Gold and Silver partners from July 2020 as well as removing on-premise technical support from next month.
In a statement to CPI on the matter, a Microsoft spokesperson said that the changes are a result of heavier investment in programmes that support business growth and assist partners in accruing more clients.
"We are continually looking at where and how to make investments in our partner business to create the most value for our partners," the spokesperson said.
"We outlined our approach to these investments in a recent blog post, ‘Investing in partner success and growth.'
"Like any business, we need to prioritize where we are going to commit funds. In this case, we made the decision to invest more heavily in programs and resources that support business growth, helping partners connect with more customers, other partners, and Microsoft sales teams.
"One of the trade-offs is changing our approach to providing product licenses for internal use. We will continue to offer product licenses for dev/test scenarios and to win business, and the internal use rights won't change until 1 July 2020 to allow time for partners to plan.
"While we understand this may be an adjustment for our partners, we believe the evolution of our partner business investments will allow partners to better capitalize on the cloud opportunity."
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