May 14th, 2007
Channel partners engaged in reselling Microsoft products say that they are getting strange calls from Microsoft's legal department to push product sales. These calls, they claim are more than suggestive in nature and ask partners to start buying Microsoft products or else face action from the company.
Said one channel partner from New Delhi, "I got a call from a lady in
Delhi who claimed to belong to the legal department of Microsoft. She said that
my name was with her since I did a lot of OEM software business earlier. I have
off late not been buying from the distributors. She suggested that I should buy
some quantity of software from the distributors this month to avoid any action
against me. I declined and said I would not buy products that I do not
Interestingly this particular partner in Delhi is already focusing on increasingly selling Microsoft products. "Today, we are selling a lot of Microsoft products and I felt bad about the call. Microsoft needs to look into the advantages and disadvantages of having such a strategy. They also need to do some market research and make sure that they do not target people who give them good business," he added on condition of anonymity.
When contacted, Microsoft categorically denied any such practice. According to Hitendra Chaturvedi, senior director, Microsoft India, "We are surprised to hear about it and would like to assure all our partners and customers that Microsoft respects their purchase decision. Further, Microsoft has well-defined policies that govern our engagement with partners and customers. We will take this up internally and conduct a thorough review to determine if there is a problem and how best to correct it. We value the relationship we have with our partners and are committed to providing customers with best-of-breed original software products."
Interestingly the revelation from the channel community comes at a time when Microsoft is engaged in a bigger anti-piracy campaign that is seen as disturbing for the channel. "I have been successfully selling Microsoft products and have great respect for the company. However, recently the company has begun to malign its own reputation by involving in such activities. Even though I have not received any such call so far I would not be surprised if I do receive it," explains a big software focused player from Chandigarh.
Another software-focused partner from Dehradun says that he has received calls about increasing the business opportunity for the global major. "I have got calls from the company asking me to increase business opportunity for Microsoft. On one hand the company says that it is supporting channel community by encouraging genuine software usage, while on the other it engages itself in such activities. The company should concentrate on making sure that proper service and education level is increased in places like Dehradun, where there are other issues of concern," he feels.