The Microsoft Partner Network is now the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program

Kip Kniskern

Microsoft depends on its partners as probably no other tech company does, and has had a longstanding relationship with them in the form of the Microsoft Partner Network. As the tech world changes, however, and Microsoft moves to a more cloud based future, the company has decided to rename the Microsoft Partner Network to the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program.

Along with the name change comes some changes to the program, including introducing two levels of partner capabilities. The solutions partner level will be granted to partners who reach a “partner capability score of 70 out of 100 points, and specializations and expert programs will “give solutions partners a way to differentiate their organizations and demonstrate deep technical expertise and experience in specific technical scenarios under each solution area.”

Back in 2019, Microsoft caused quite a stir when it announced it was ending the partner internal use rights (IURs) program, which offered free Microsoft products and services to partners for their internal use. That decision met with significant outcry from the partners, enough so that Microsoft backtracked and restored those internal use rights.

The company apparently isn’t making the same mistake again, as the newly revised program will renew current benefits and introduce new ones:

• Partners will be able to renew the benefits they’re currently using, while also taking
advantage of new benefits packages customized to meet their unique needs based on
their business focus.
• Partners will continue to receive internal use rights licenses (IURs), including on-premises
licenses, cloud service subscriptions, and Azure credits, although IURs will be now called
“Product Benefits”.
• No partner’s incentive eligibility will change in the 2023 investments and incentives
program year, which runs from October 2022 to September 2023.

Even though partners will retain their beloved IURs, there still will be some shuffling as partners recertify and move to a more cloud oriented focus. We’ll have to wait and see how this affects the partner program.