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Microsoft set to unveil Symphony

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DQW Bureau
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Microsoft is said to be in the process of integrating its OEM and volume

licensing division under an initiative called 'Symphony', where sales executives

of the company and partners, who were selling either OEM or volume licensing,

would be able to deal with both.

The announcement is expected to be made by Microsoft soon . The company has

already started conveying the information to its sales executives in both the

divisions and among major distributors.

Earlier, there was much confusion within the channels as executives from both

divisions used to market their product, whereas the channels were lacking a

clarity on who should deal with which product. It often led to a series of

problems and in some cases the legality of the licenses was also brought under

scrutiny. With this integration process, Microsoft's sales executives are

expected to deal with both OEM as well as the volume licensing products, and

this accounts for few distributive partners also, who were distributing or

dealing exclusively for OEM or volume licensing.

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The channels feel that this integration would bring an end to the internal

competition within both the teams of Microsoft. “In one way, this is a major

advantage for the channels, as they would be interacting with a single sales

team and the confusions will be limited,” opined S Karthikeyan, CEO, Bloom

Computers, Coimbatore.

However, he expressed that it was not clear whether any dealer or distributor

would be allowed to deal with both the OEM as well as paper licenses; he claimed

that it will take sometime for the company to communicate more information to

partners.

Even Devesh Agarwal, President, Infotech Software Dealers Association (ISODA)

said that the association is awaiting more clarity from Microsoft. “I am aware

about the integration only in my capacity as the President of ISODA.However, as

a software dealer, I am still awaiting for some proper communication. I feel

that combining both the divisions would bring in more confusion to the channels,

as each one is dealing with different products and they need more training from

Microsoft to deal with both licenses,” Agarwal claimed.

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Pointing out that there is no legal presence of Microsoft in India, Alok

Gupta, CEO, Softmart, Delhi said that the integration is more of a cosmetic

change for Microsoft, which doesn't make any change in the way business is

carried out by the channels.

He further said that it could be in a way detrimental to the business. “When

there were two businesses, there was competition that existed between the two

divisions to sell, which was healthy for channel partners. Now with the

integration, it would again become a situation which would be beneficial for the

vendor but not for the channel,” Gupta said.

On the other hand, PN Prasad, President, Confed-ITA said that the integration

would reduce the number of conflicts between the channel and the sales team of

Microsoft. “There used to be lots of conflicts between the two divisions of

Microsoft and the channels team, and their sales strategies have always been

unclear. However, after this integration there will be one point of contact in

Microsoft, which should reduce the conflicts to a greater extent,” said Prasad.

A comment from Microsoft on the integration process was awaited at the time

of going to press.

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