Microsoft has promised partners additional marketing funds and extra support, including an improved royalty system and a buddy system for independent software vendors (ISVs).
Delegates at Redmond's annual partners conference in Toronto heard yesterday that the software giant will increase its annual spending on partners, from $1.5bn to $1.7bn next year.
Microsoft said the increased investment would cover additional field specialists, training, sales and marketing support, and services.
For field specialists, the spending will be allocated primarily to system builders, ISVs and partners that focus on Microsoft Business Solutions.
In addition, each of Microsoft's global subsidiaries will allocate a total of 35 per cent of global marketing funds - previously earmarked for direct customer marketing - to help partners build their businesses through joint marketing efforts with Microsoft.
Redmond said its ISV Royalty Programme would provide firms with a simple way to embed elements of the Microsoft platform into software applications, and make sure customers have all the technology components they need without having to purchase any separately.
The buddy system aims to offer increased technical support and access to resources throughout the development, sales and marketing process. Approximately 430 ISVs are part of the programme, which is currently open for enrolment.
"ISVs that bet on Microsoft to win grew about 10 per cent faster than those who didn't," said Sanjay Parthasarathy, corporate vice president at Microsoft.
"We launched the ISV buddy programme last week. If you have a problem you can call the account manager and they'll sort it out for you. One thousand employees signed up, including [chief executive] Steve Ballmer."
Ballmer, however, has yet to be assigned an ISV buddy.
Part of the Microsoft Developer Network will be reserved for ISVs, offering technical content and vertical industry-specific applications.
Online tools and offline events will also be improved, with online meeting and information tools and regular events to share information and strategies, including quarterly ISV community days and webcasts on key technologies.
Microsoft's error-reporting tool, named Watson, will also be made available to ISVs. This will build up a database of known errors that developers can use to develop more stable code.
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