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
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.