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  • Attention partners Microsoft really is coming for your clients this time

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Attention partners Microsoft really is coming for your clients this time

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      • #2334114
        Amy Babinchak
        Manager

        Microsoft has made the mistake of going around its partners in the past. Isn’t buying direct the way to go? No, not really. When there’s a healthy mar
        [See the full post at: Attention partners Microsoft really is coming for your clients this time]

        5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2334124
        b
        AskWoody MVP

        I’m not the alarmist type …

        I wouldn’t describe those emails as “scary” (and you haven’t explained why they are to you.)

        • #2334193
          Cee Arr
          AskWoody Plus

          I agree. Scary no. Annoying yes.

        • #2334334
          amybabinchak
          Guest

          Because this is a new angle from Microsoft. They are coming after the low hanging fruit that is the basis on many MSP’s in the market.

      • #2334130
        b
        AskWoody MVP

        Here are a couple of samples of the email that your clients are getting from Microsoft.

        On Azure:

        I hope this email finds you well! My name is Blake Wheeler, and I am reaching out on behalf of Microsoft’s Azure Team. I spoke to Lisa from (Edit: Client name) and she referred me to reach out to you. I was reaching out to Lisa about the opportunity to participate in a Complimentary Deep Dive Evaluation.

        Wasn’t that first email sent to a partner, after speaking to the client, and offering a free service for both?

        • #2334338
          amybabinchak
          Guest

          No Microsoft is approaching the client first and only if the client brings in the partner is the partner made aware of this offer from Microsoft.

          • #2334400
            b
            AskWoody MVP

            No Microsoft is approaching the client first and only if the client brings in the partner is the partner made aware of this offer from Microsoft.

            But that first email you quoted was sent to YOU, so your “No” to my question is disingenuous:

            Another Microsoft betrayal – this time Azure

            • #2334428
              Paul T
              AskWoody MVP

              My reading is the mail was sent after MS contacted the client and the client referred MS to the partner.

              cheers, Paul

      • #2334166
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Not too clear as to the facts: This is, at worst, an attempt to undercut, by offering free support to their clients, those providing computer support services for a fee or a retainer and doing that not only to the detriment of MS “partners”, but also of similar businesses not associated with MS that offer this type of service. If so, this qualifies as unfair competition.

        Or it could be an offer of the option of getting free additional support, a new aspect of the MS collaboration with those “partners”, who still will be able to charge their own customers for their services, as would be anyone else, the same as before. This would be quite OK.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

      • #2334187
        Ricard
        AskWoody Lounger

        Well, if these emails are, as they do appear to be, targeted to entities with support partners, then yeah, it is kind of alarming. Does Microsoft have a good reputation for helping users in general? I’ll believe it when I see them listening to users’ expressed concerns (e.g. update quality, new-feature frequency, etc.) instead of trying to dazzle with what MS thinks might be the new shiny.

        I didn’t get and save a free copy of Windows 10 when it was offered, because I deliberately wanted to wait until we had to pay good money for it, in the hope that then Microsoft would, you know, listen to people who used and wanted a productive desktop operating system .

        I’m still waiting.

        Win 7 Pro, 64-Bit, Group B ESU,Ivy Bridge i3-3110M, 2.4GHz, 4GB, XP Mode VM, WordPerfect
        • #2334207
          anonymous
          Guest

          And Windows 10 upgrade (from valid registered Windows 7 ) is still no charge over half a decade later.  I don’t think Microsoft will ever charge for an upgrade.  They want you on their Desktop platform so our next purchase includes Windows 10 preinstalled.  Microsoft makes no money selling upgrades but still gets a nice price for new computers sold.

           

          Article states the free upgrade still worked Jan 4th 2021:

          https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-download-windows-10-for-free-now-that-windows-7-is-dead/

           

      • #2334192
        Cee Arr
        AskWoody Plus

        I really don’t see this as the forum for this posting. Most of the AskWoody members are ‘older’ or retired folk and not the so-called target of Microsoft’s campaign.  This is  business related IMO. I have zero trust/faith in the Microsoft of  today and nothing they do surprises me. A suggestion: Take the matter up directly with MS.  I would if it were my business I was concerned about.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2334341
          amybabinchak
          Guest

          Many but not all are retirees. According to the recent survey there are about 12% IT professionals running businesses here.

          • #2334363
            b
            AskWoody MVP

            Most IT professionals do not run businesses.

            • #2334368
              LoneWolf
              Guest

              Most IT professionals do not run businesses.

              Please speak for yourself.

              I am part of a managed service provider.  Our mission is to provide IT services and support for companies too small to have their own IT Pros, or as backup for 1-2 IT Pros.  In some cases, we provide the software licensing only, or are there as a “just in case” or for monitoring purposes.

              Do I own the company? No.  However, this move means Microsoft takes money out of our pockets if successful, and it hurts the very people best suited to support the products they sell. The only thing I can be thankful for here is that Microsoft support at the Tier I level is absolutely abysmal; no company smaller than a certain size would want to work with them.

              There are many good managed service providers like mine, and now Microsoft is getting greedy.  It’s much like the move Dell Sales pulls quite often, undercutting firms like mine by seeing us do a server quote in their portal, then calling a client to undercut us. It’s why we only buy servers under our own name.

              • #2334422
                b
                AskWoody MVP

                Please speak for yourself.

                I am part of a managed service provider.

                Which means you are in a minority amongst IT professionals.

              • #2334444
                Susan Bradley
                Manager

                Actually it’s a growing segment as more firms outsource their IT support.  It’s also a huge reason that there’s a big target for MSPs as they have lots of clients and thus are a juicy target for both Microsoft and ransomware.

                Susan Bradley Patch Lady

                3 users thanked author for this post.
            • #2334442
              Susan Bradley
              Manager

              IT consultants, who are IT pros do run businesses.

              Susan Bradley Patch Lady

              3 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2334479
            Cee Arr
            AskWoody Plus

            88% are not.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
            b
      • #2334216
        Tom
        AskWoody Plus

        It’s not just Microsoft and it’s not new. Facom (Fujitsu’s mainframe division) did this in the late 70s. Burroughs (now Unisys) did this in the 80s. Data General (a now defunct mini-computer manufacturer) did it. Large tech companies buddy up to partners to help them sell kit and do the difficult, initial support and then try and take over. I learnt early on not to partner with the supplier. I was burned by Burroughs 35 years ago. Over the past 35 years of being a consultant I have never again partnered with a supplier.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2334221
        anonymous
        Guest

        My first thought when reading the sample emails was, is this a scam email.

        Bad first impression in my view.
        Jerry

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2334242
        NaNoNyMouse
        AskWoody Lounger

        My first thought when reading the sample emails was, is this a scam email.

        Bad first impression in my view.
        Jerry

        My first thought too, particularly given the shoddy writing (“reaching out” used three times in the space of a paragraph, “a good date/time that you had 15-30 minutes”, etc)

        Personally I’d consider these as Junk…

      • #2334305
        bbearren
        AskWoody MVP

        How many AskWoody members/readers are Partners for whom this is relevant?

        Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
        "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
        "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

        4 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2334343
          amybabinchak
          Guest

          About 12%

          • #2334361
            b
            AskWoody MVP

            Most IT professionals are not Microsoft Partners.

      • #2334308
        Carl036
        AskWoody Plus

        I’m not a Partner. I’m just one of those older, retired folk who has been a faithful follower of Woody’s for many years.

        What I don’t get is this: In the U.S., we have a very long history of free market competition between businesses. Suggesting that Microsoft has no right to compete seems very odd to me.

        If you take almost any other business, except for utilities and similar businesses (if any), they compete with others for the business of the clients. It sounds like one of the Partners did exactly that: competed with Microsoft’s “free” support and won.

        I know that I’m retired but I know that it is an especially tough market right now for almost everyone. Some businesses are in a very stagnant market, others faced by nearly overwhelming opportunities.

        But without competition, there is zero motivation to provide a better service. That has been Microsoft’s problem for many years. They have basically been a monopoly in certain segments of the market (the market shares for Linux and Apple are comparatively small).

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2334345
          amybabinchak
          Guest

          We pay for the privilege of being a Microsoft partner, purchase from official distribution channels. This has meant that they would not compete for our customers as we are seen as their sales and services channel in the small and medium business market. In big business, Microsoft has always had a sales, support and consulting services business.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2334322
        Microfix
        AskWoody MVP

        The way I see it is, it’s business and open competition so Microsoft SHOULD be responsible for THEIR warez and deals being bartered out. I would also think it’s good news for clients, giving them an opportunity to voice discontent, praise or even ideas for microsoft moving forward. (I must be out my mind, did I really type that!)
        IOW I’d rather speak with the puppetmaster than the puppet with tangled strings.

        W10, the itch you simply cannot scratch!
      • #2334369
        LoneWolf
        AskWoody Plus

        Most IT professionals do not run businesses.

        Please speak for yourself.

        I am part of a managed service provider.  Our mission is to provide IT services and support for companies too small to have their own IT Pros, or as backup for 1-2 IT Pros.  In some cases, we provide the software licensing only, or are there as a “just in case” or for monitoring purposes.

        Do I own the company? No.  However, this move means Microsoft takes money out of our pockets if successful, and it hurts the very people best suited to support the products they sell. The only thing I can be thankful for here is that Microsoft support at the Tier I level is absolutely abysmal; no company smaller than a certain size would want to work with them.

        There are many good managed service providers like mine, and now Microsoft is getting greedy.  It’s much like the move Dell Sales pulls quite often, undercutting firms like mine by seeing us do a server quote in their portal, then calling a client to undercut us. It’s why we only buy servers under our own name.

        P.S.  I didn’t mean to post this anonymously, I just didn’t realize I wasn’t logged in.

        We are SysAdmins.
        We walk in the wiring closets no others will enter.
        We stand on the bridge, and no malware may pass.
        We engage in tech support, we do not retreat.
        We live for the LAN.
        We die for the LAN.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2334370
        LoneWolf
        AskWoody Plus

        The way I see it is, it’s business and open competition so Microsoft SHOULD be responsible for THEIR warez and deals being bartered out. I would also think it’s good news for clients, giving them an opportunity to voice discontent, praise or even ideas for microsoft moving forward. (I must be out my mind, did I really type that!)
        IOW I’d rather speak with the puppetmaster than the puppet with tangled strings.

        Just because you buy from Microsoft, doesn’t mean you’ll get accountability from Microsoft.

        Thinking that cutting the middleman somehow buys you direct access would be naive, as anyone who has ever dealt with Microsoft AnswerDesk can attest to. Unless you’re large enough to get notice from the local TAM (Technical Account Manager) because of a company relationship (which means a considerable investment in Microsoft products), you’re unlikely to see it.

        We are SysAdmins.
        We walk in the wiring closets no others will enter.
        We stand on the bridge, and no malware may pass.
        We engage in tech support, we do not retreat.
        We live for the LAN.
        We die for the LAN.

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2334443
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        After reading the previous comments made in this interesting discussion (that does not concern me directly) I would like to make this observation:

        If the situation under consideration is correctly described as follows:

        Someone applies to, is accepted and then pays to be a partner with another business in order to provide paid services to the users of the other business’ products, but then the other business offers the same services at a discount, probably that is not fair competition.

        What that may be is a bad faith breach of contract, depending on what it says in the fine print. Or even if it is a bad faith breach of contract, it might not be that in practice, if the other business has platoons of well-paid lawyers ready to pounce to counter sue and, or tangle up in procedural red tape the legal complaints, to run the clock on them and, or deplete the pockets, of the aggrieved “partner.”

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

        • #2334577
          Cousinjack
          AskWoody Lounger

          Interesting to see if they try this in the EU

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2334579
            Microfix
            AskWoody MVP

            ..or the UK now that it’s out of the EU

            W10, the itch you simply cannot scratch!
      • #2334446
        NetDef
        AskWoody_MVP

        Two of my clients (so far) have received these emails.  Both are from a v-(alias) @ microsoft.com.  That v- designation means they are vendors for MSFT, not direct employees.

        I will also note that their use of language makes these look like phishing – although it turns out the emails are “legit.”

        My hope is that a new vendor with an incorrect mission assignment has begun marketing for Microsoft. I’ve reached out to some contacts to find out.

        If that turns out not to be the case, then it does indeed appear that MS might be trying to woo my clients away from me.  I doubt very much they would be able to provide the depth and scope of the many services I and my company provide to our customers.

        ~ Group "Weekend" ~

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2335983
          NetDef
          AskWoody_MVP

          I have been informed that the v-vendors were “in some cases” overreaching . . . and that this is being corrected.

          However:  in other cases their intent is to reach out directly to SMB’s whom they may suspect are not provisioning enough Microsoft 365 seats for the number of actual staff using the software.  In essence this may be a new audit process with a lighter touch than the Open License audits that would trigger all sorts of excitement.

          To wit: if they sense that a single M365 account is being used to install and activate Office software on multiple computers (I believe up to five for the same user is still okay) but being used on a regular basis by more than one person, that business may (eventually) get these bypass solicitations.

          If you are a SMB consultant, and whether or not you are a MS Partner, it might pay to make sure you have helped your clients provision the correct number of licenses.

          I am in NO way saying this might be the case for anyone on this forum.

          ~ Group "Weekend" ~

      • #2334547
        anonymous
        Guest

        Remember when everyone was saying how Microsoft was a kindler and gentler big corporation after Ballmer? Sorry but Nadella is even more aggressive and has become even more of a champion for self serving policies for Microsoft. I question more about Microsoft today, than I ever did under Ballmer.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2335626
          LoneWolf
          AskWoody Plus

          Two of my clients (so far) have received these emails.  Both are from a v-(alias) @ microsoft.com.  That v- designation means they are vendors for MSFT, not direct employees.

          I will also note that their use of language makes these look like phishing – although it turns out the emails are “legit.”

          My hope is that a new vendor with an incorrect mission assignment has begun marketing for Microsoft. I’ve reached out to some contacts to find out.

          If that turns out not to be the case, then it does indeed appear that MS might be trying to woo my clients away from me.  I doubt very much they would be able to provide the depth and scope of the many services I and my company provide to our customers.

          I at least found that under Ballmer, Microsoft *listened* to IT people.

          Now we’re just “those guys that support people with our software”.  It takes a lot of clout to be able to get Microsoft to listen to people who know of needed fixes, or great ideas to improve their products, or “You could make it so much simpler if…”

          Great example, my pet peeve in Windows 10.

          Why can’t I, when choosing “Default apps by file type”, SEARCH for one of the thousands of file extensions? Why do I have to scroll through all of them until I get to the one I’m looking for? This isn’t rocket science, it wouldn’t be hard to put a search box in there. And yet Windows 10 has been out for five years and this hasn’t happened.

          There is no way I’m going to get this idea to a place where it will be listened to. The level of obfuscation is simply too great for me to find someone important enough.

          Back during the Windows 7 patch debacle where updates weren’t working, I tweeted Satya Nadella, and told him that if he could give me 2-3 consecutive months of Microsoft patches (Windows and Office) that didn’t break things in the process, I’d take him out to dinner in my city to the restaurant of his choice, no restrictions. Now I knew the chances of a response were nil, but I’d have pulled out my wallet any time. Even RT-ed it a few times.

          Crickets. Of course, the 2-3 consecutive months never happened either.

           

          We are SysAdmins.
          We walk in the wiring closets no others will enter.
          We stand on the bridge, and no malware may pass.
          We engage in tech support, we do not retreat.
          We live for the LAN.
          We die for the LAN.

          • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by LoneWolf.
          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2335663
            b
            AskWoody MVP

            Great example, my pet peeve in Windows 10.

            Why can’t I, when choosing “Default apps by file type”, SEARCH for one of the thousands of file extensions? Why do I have to scroll through all of them until I get to the one I’m looking for? This isn’t rocket science, it wouldn’t be hard to put a search box in there. And yet Windows 10 has been out for five years and this hasn’t happened.

            Yes, it’s been a long wait. But this has been available to Windows Insiders for the last nine months and is currently in builds 21277 or later. So I would expect that we’ll see it in a feature release later this year:

            Over the years, we’ve made a number of improvements to Settings based on your feedback, and we’re happy to share the next one is starting to roll out. We’re adding the ability to search the lists of file types, protocols, and apps when setting a default.

            Showing the Choose default apps by file type Settings window, now with a search box.

            Improving your default apps experience

             

            There is no way I’m going to get this idea to a place where it will be listened to. The level of obfuscation is simply too great for me to find someone important enough.

            The biggest frustrating failure of Windows 10 is the Feedback Hub in my opinion. Microsoft staff are under the misapprehension that it works quite effectively, but it’s clear most of them never use it. They often ask that a suggestion should be submitted there, even when it’s a minor feature which has already been requested there by many users for several years. And I’m not convinced that most problem reports sent there get any attention whatsoever.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2335984
              NetDef
              AskWoody_MVP

              We’ve wandered a little off topic, but I have to say I agree with this.

              The biggest frustrating failure of Windows 10 is the Feedback Hub in my opinion. Microsoft staff are under the misapprehension that it works quite effectively, but it’s clear most of them never use it.

              ~ Group "Weekend" ~

              1 user thanked author for this post.
              b
      • #2334946
        Tom
        AskWoody Plus

        Apple distributors are not immune to this sort of thing either. In the early ’00s I was consulting to an Apple distributor in regional Australia (Apple didn’t have any stores more than 150Km from a major city) as their “PC and Windows Business Manager” (Yes, they did also sell HP servers and Acer PCs). They had the local University and Technical Colleges tied up and were about to sign a contract for 4 G5 Servers and 23 iMacs when Apple stepped in and undercut them. They did all the hard work and were then stitched up by Apple. That’s when everyone discovered that Apple would undercut (and lose revenue) on hardware just to get the support. Bit like the printer manufacturers today, selling printers at a loss to rake in the profits on inks.

      • #2336537
        Specialist17
        AskWoody Lounger

        I’m sorry, but I don’t understand the part about:

        “Those of us working actively with our clients shouldn’t be subject to any competitor coming in and disrupting our business”

        But why not? In this capitalistic, free-market loving America….I thought that was just “survival-of-the-fittest”, “fair game”, “disrupt to evolve”, and whatever other platitudes apply?

        Unless there is a violation of a contract/service agreement that is going on here, then I don’t really get it. But I am not knowledgeable on this CSP/MSP topic.

        • #2336575
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          This is about your supplier deciding they can nick your clients because they can make more money, not about another service organisation at the same level as you, providing better service.

          cheers, Paul

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