Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Partnering with Microsoft: The Ugly

My colleague John Powers has frequently posted about the good, the bad, and the ugly of partnering with Microsoft--and today's post would definitely qualify as "the ugly."

He's going through the annual process of renewing our Gold Certified status, and, as usual, he's suffering through hours of terrible user experience on their website.

I'll give a short summary here, but you should go read John's post for the full, gory detail.

Unfortunately, part of the process involves getting customer references, and that means having our best customers try to use the Microsoft partner website. This means that we are now subjecting our best, most valuable customers to the frustrations of trying to use a slow, buggy site. Our customers are already doing us a favor by filling out these forms--now Microsoft making is them take (a lot of) extra time, suffering through numerous timeouts, crashes, etc.

Put another way: Microsoft is asking us to piss off our most important customers for the sake of our partner status.

We see a lot of value in the partner program and in Gold Certified status; we're willing to put up with a lot of hassle. But asking our customers to deal with that hassle is too much.

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