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IT channel partner program news

This one-stop-shop resource will get you up to speed on the latest market trends, partner-vendor relationships and IT channel partner program news.

What have the big vendors been doing with their partner programs? What are the latest trends in financing and credit services for VARs? Check out's one-stop shop for discovering what's new in partner-vendor relationships and interactions.


Channel Marker blogs


August 2011

  • VCE reorgs channel, sales operations
    Vblock channel sales should get a boost from move to streamline coverage, VCE execs said.

July 2011

  • Microsoft LARs ponder new requirements
    Starting in October, Microsoft large account resellers will have to put two staffers through T-36 online training. This is part of the vendor’s effort to get Microsoft LARs focus more on services instead of software license transactions.
  • Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2011 news
    Microsoft showed off Hyper-V Replica, Windows Server 8 and Windows Phone 7  at this year's WPC 2011 in LA. There was also plenty of cloud strategy discussion around Azure and Office 365 and the company's Windows 8 plan. Microsoft also talked up its plan of attack against Google, Apple and VMware (among others) this year.
  • Microsoft partners get reprieve on revenue targets
    Microsoft Partner Network deadline for measuring revenue for Gold competency is pushed out another year.

June 2011

  • VMware Ready program extended to boost VDI adoption
    Company extends the program to include VMware View solutions for government.
  • Vendors allege partner program misuse feeds gray market problem
    Gray market alliance contends that abuse of channel programs and funding contributes to a $54 billion problem.

May 2011

  • Autodesk ups ante with partner specializations, software suites
    Eyeing the new Platinum tier, Autodesk VARs fear the price is too high.
  • Dell Premier partners to get stronger deal protection
    Dell's new Premier partner designation targets top tier, certification-heavy VARs with enterprise technology savvy.
  • Dell killing partners … with kindness
    To the surprise of many, Dell is emerging as a channel-friendlier vendor, thanks in no small part to its acquisitions of EqualLogic and Compellent.

April 2011

  • VCE partner program modifications tackle channel conflict, deal reg problems
    The Virtual Computing Environment Company introduces streamlined deal-registration and purchase-order systems to boost Vblock sales in the channel.
  • Cisco requires partners to gain Cisco architecture specialization
    Cisco partners have received a deadline to gain new Cisco architecture specializations focusing on collaboration, data center and Borderless Networks.

March 2011

  • Smart VARs don’t ignore managed print services
    As business users get more dependent on smart phones and tablets, the ability to print remotely will become even more important.  That demand, along with cloud computing efforts like HP’s ePrint could, in turn, boost demand for managed print services (MPS), several APC attendees told Such services, paid for on a monthly basis, allow the provider to significantly cut customers’ printing costs by slashing excess printers and capitalizing on multi-function printers.
  • HP TouchPad seeks to exploit iPad Achilles' heel
    Several VARs at the show—even those toting iPads—said HP can make hay with its TouchPad/WebOS  tandem provided that it (A) gets the products out the door this summer as promised and (B) convinces business users that WebOS is more open than Apple’s iOS and more locked down  than Android, which is being fragmented by the various carriers.  One attendee said Android is in danger of becoming irrelevant because all the carriers are tweaking it and locking it down.
  • Cloud, software push puts HP at odds with Microsoft
    After months of near silence, HP CEO Leo Apotheker broadly outlined his new vision of Hewlett-Packard as a software and cloud computing company. His plans to offer an HP-built cloud infrastructure and apps store caused partners to wonder about HP’s long-time partnership with Microsoft, which is doing the same thing.
  • HP VARs wary of Apotheker's cloud vision
    Early channel reaction to HP’s new software-and-cloud strategy was mixed. Most VARs withheld judgment, waiting for more info to come at APC.
  • Adrian Jones surfaces at Oracle
    Adrian Jones, the former HP executive credited with building the PartnerOne program before leaving the company somewhat mysteriously, showed up at (gasp!) Oracle!
  • Adrian Jones leaves HP 
    The former HP channel chief Adrian Jones departed in February sparking partner speculation about his mysterious destination. Jones followed Randy Runk, another Mark Hurd-era HP exec, out the door as the Leo Apotheker-era executive shuffle continued.
  • Hewlett-Packard SMB Central courts smaller VARs with new portal, MDF
    Hewlett-Packard's new SMB Central portal aims to give partners easy access to products for small and medium-sized businesses. VARs can also get $1,500 for MDF per quarter.
  • Cisco cloud strategy emerges: Not another hosted app service
    The new Cisco cloud strategy encourages partners to build cloud networks and offer their own hosted services -- but very clearly doesn't ask them to be resellers of Cisco hosted applications.

February 2011

  • Cisco cloud services: Good for partners?
    Can channel partners make money with Cisco cloud services? At the Cisco Partner Summit this week, the vendor's executives will tell partners how they can stay relevant in the new cloud era. VARs say they will need a lot of convincing. 
  • IBM pushes midmarket agenda to partners
    New IBM cloud computing and business analytics partner initiatives will target the midmarket.
  • News from VMware Partner Exchange 2011 in Orlando
    The big storylines at VMware Partner Exchange 2011 were new charges for VMware’s once-free Solution Enablement Toolkits and what partners think of vCloud Connector.
  • Microsoft Partner Network, portal fall short, VARs say
    Portal problems and doubts about whether Microsoft Gold certifications are worth the cost haunt Microsoft Partner Network.

January 2011

  • Microsoft Enterprise Agreements: What partners need to know
    Microsoft takes EA accounts direct, puts the squeeze on its large account resellers.

December 2010

  • VARs in HP partner program worry about company's direction
    Many VARs are dissatisfied with Hewlett-Packard and its partner program. New CEO Leo Apotheker's channel approach and HP's sheer size are top concerns.
  • IBM seeks specialized software partners
    IBM's new certification and authorization track gives VARs a degree of differentiation in the market, but it may also take out resellers that can't invest in industry expertise.

November 2010

  • VARs to vendors: Talk to us and help us help you!
    The biggest continuing problem VARs have with their affiliated vendors is an absence of clear, consistent communication. And that communication gap can affect customers, to the detriment of VAR and vendor alike.
  • VARs eye VCE coalition incentives to boost Vblock sales
    Data center customers like the idea of the VCE coalition's Vblocks, but pricing, a lack of channel incentives and other concerns are putting the brakes on Vblock sales.

June 2010

May 2010

  • IBM simplifies PartnerWorld, partner locators
    Melding many partner locators into one eases partner access to top IBM executives.

March 2010

  • New HP channel chief vows to improve efficiency
    Stephen DiFranco, recruited out of Lenovo, says his goal is to make Hewlett-Packard easier for partners to work with and to assure an open dialogue even as the computing giant pushes more aggressively into networking and other markets.
    • Novell VARs worry in wake of proposed buyout
      A surprise buyout bid from a hedge fund has some Novell partners in a tizzy. Speculation is that Novell's intellectual property trove could draw other bidders, VARs say.
    • NetSuite dangles 100% margins on SaaS ERP business
      New NetSuite SP 100 program lures select Microsoft or Sage partners with fat margins.
  • February 2010

    • HP data center services to sell through VARs
      Hewlett-Packard's new data center assessment and planning tools can augment partner service offerings.
    • Talk of new sales tax makes MSPs anxious
      Potential new sales taxes on services under discussion in several states could put managed service providers and HaaS players at risk.
    • Staples to battle VARs on their own turf
      Office equipment giant Staples launches B2B VAR effort that will compete with smaller, local solution providers.
    • Data center hardware wars: VARs take on vendors
      Cisco's and HP's respective unified data center push challenges integrators' prerogative.
    • Tech Data partners on IT recycling
      Tech Data's TDonCall services go green.
    • McAfee pushes channel value of Quickstart remote assistance services (
      Solution providers discuss how McAfee's new Quickstart Services will impact security resellers' on-site consultation services.

    January 2010

    • SAP All-in-One model sees licensing change
      ERP giant tweaks SAP All-in-One licensing to make it easier for partners to offer their own applications on a subscription basis. It's about time.
    • VAR marketing 101:
      They have the hot technologies down cold, but many VARs don't get how to market and promote their own services and know how.
    • McAfee SecurityAlliance program stresses competencies
      Security partners laud the idea of McAfee's new SecurityAlliance program, but want to see how quickly the security vendor can resolve systems issues and rein in its sales force.
    • Ingram Micro hopes to ride consumer, IT convergence
      Recognizing the thinning line between consumer gadgets and mainstream business IT, Ingram Micro rebranded its DBL Distributing arm as a formal consumer electronics division.
    • IBM partners to get software sales leads
      IBM partners can now get qualified midmarket software sales leads from the computing giant.
    • Oracle-Sun deal done, channel shakeout expected
      Sun partners fret that Oracle's ownership of Sun Microsystems will mean a shakeout of Sun partner ranks and increasing channel conflict.
  • 2009 in review

    • Oracle evangelizes new partner program
      Oracle went all Web 2.0-y touting its new Oracle Partner Network (OPN) Specialized partner program online with Twitter and Facebook tie-ins.
    • Cisco opens up unified computing to distribution
      Cisco put its UCS hardware sales into distribution, inking deals with the Westcon Group's Comstor Worldwide unit and Tech Data.
    • Tech Data initiates healthcare IT practice
      Tech Data's new healthcare specialized business unit (SBU) could help VARs get a cut of healthcare IT.
    • VARs assess retail market opportunities
      Are IT opportunities in retail heating up? Depends on whom you ask.
    • Cisco pushes VAR profitability on ISR G2 sales
      Cisco says it will make it worth VARs' while to push new integrated services routers (ISRs).
    • Avaya simplifies VAR interaction
      New Avaya Connect channel program seeks to ease partner-vendor interactions.
    • Microsoft online store adds PCs to roster
      Trying to regroup against Apple's online and retail push, Microsoft stocked the Microsoft online store with select PCs, laptops and netbooks.
    • Ellison: Oracle will buck services buying trend
      Oracle will not follow Hewlett-Packard and Dell into an IT services buying binge, according to CEO Larry Ellison.

July 2011

  • Akamai accelerates partner alliance hunt with new program
    The Akamai NetAlliance Partner Program will target integrators, application and infrastructure service providers, and commerce and digital media platform providers who want to offer cloud services to specific customer bases.

March 2011

  • HP APC: Leo's here, how'd he do?
    This year’s APC served as Hewlett-Packard CEO Leo Apotheker’s coming out party to the bulk of the company’s VAR and integrator partners. And they were chomping at the bit to see what Mark Hurd’s successor had to say after a couple of uncertain months of speculation.
  • Top Ten Takeaways from HP APC
    What were the top HP APC messages (sanctioned and not) out of the Hewlett-Packard partner conference? Some might surprise you.
  • Looks like Leo will show at HP APC
    Former SAP CEO Leo Apotheker was the HP board’s surprise pick to lead the company. He was hired in October and promptly disappeared in the face of an Oracle subpoena. That led some to wonder if Apotheker would show at APC.
  • HP Partner Wish List
    With the big APC show in Vegas on the horizon, here’s a quick list of what VARs want to see and hear from Hewlett-Packard.
  • February 2010

    • Facebook: A VAR's best CRM tool
      It ain't just for college kids anymore: VARs should be using Facebook to prospect and seal deals, writes Channel Marker Nicole Harding.
    • HP recruits new channel chief from Lenovo
      HP goes to Lenovo for its new channel chief, Stephen DiFranco.
    • Oracle tries to clarify Sun direct sales message
      Oracle's Judson Althoff tries to calm Sun VARs fears.
    • Cisco dumps HP as partner
      Cisco Systems cuts out erstwhile partner HP as rivalry grows.
    • Sure everyone wants to gain revenue, but what about retaining revenue?
      Everyone wants "net new" business. Too many VARs give short shrift to keeping the revenue flow they've already got and making sure those true-blue customers stay that way, writes Channel Marker blogger Heather Clancy.
    • Ingram Micro's new prescription for healthcare
      Broadline distribution giant Ingram Micro inks relationship with NextGen Healthcare Information Systems. NexGen specializes in electronic health records technology.
    • NetApp's Parrish to partners: Ignore cloud computing at your own peril
      Channel vet Julie Parrish at NetApp knows that cloud computing can be scary for partners -- but tells them to jump in anyway.
    • For IT deals, cheap credit ain't cheap enough
      In this nagging recession, you'd think low-interest credit would be a big deal for VARs. However, what folks want is free. Several VARs said low-interest isn't interesting enough for many companies to upgrade their IT infrastructure. But free credit can grease the skids.
  • January 2010

    • Fujitsu's top channel exec sounds solutions theme
      Matt McManus, Fujitsu America's VP of sales and marketing is grappling with the expanded product set he inherited last summer. His goal: helping Fujitsu resellers sell more total solutions (and more Fujitsu products) into their accounts.
    • Hewlett-Packard, Cisco partner events face off
      Ratcheting up its rivalry with Cisco another level, HP scheduled its big Americas Partner Conference directly against Cisco's previously planned partner event, hundreds of miles away. Now those HP partners that also happen to be Cisco partners have a tough decision to make.
  • December 2009

    • Customer satisfaction now core to Microsoft Gold designation
      Julie Bennani, GM of the Microsoft Partner Network, talks about the ten new customer surveys VARs will have to submit to attain each tech specialization. For each specialization badge, they need to produce 10 completed from active customers.

    • Partner News Podcast: IT channel year in review
      Carl Mazzanti, CEO of eMazzanti Technologies, talks about hot channel topics for 2009 including Windows 7 opportunities and cloud computing.
    • VAR impact of Oracle-Sun deal not clear
      After the Oracle-Sun deal received a nod of approval from the European Commission, Oracle execs revealed plans to take the 4,000 biggest Sun customers direct.
    • Windows 7 can boost VAR service opportunities
      Podcast: Windows 7 expert and author Ed Tittel outlines the best reasons for VARs to dive into Windows 7 upgrades and migrations.
  • Check out earlier partner program news.

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