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Microsoft launches new channel marketing program

Microsoft has now finished overhauling its channel marketing program – called the Microsoft Partner Network – and created new program competencies for all of its partners, according to

The company first announced the proposed changes at the 2009 WorldWide Partner conference. The site says that during the transition period, Microsoft will automatically change old competencies into the corresponding new ones once they re-enroll. Before re-enrolling, all partners will keep their old benefits.

The site says the next phase of the program will launch in October, when the company will offer new benefits which focus specifically on each competency area. In order for partners to be eligible for the new benefits, however, they must be trained on Microsoft’s new products.

As an incentive for partners to be up to date, Microsoft is offering free previews and training programs for upcoming product releases. The company is also offering partners multiple chances to pass certification tests free of charge.

Microsoft is currently going through one of its biggest ever product launch waves. In addition to its highly publicized Windows 7 and Office 2010 releases, the company has also released upgrades to its server and CRM software platforms.