As you know, on November 1, 2010, we launched the Microsoft Partner Network which brought with it the focus on competencies and the ability to achieve gold and silver competencies. As noted in my The Microsoft Partner Network: Gold Competencies & Silver Competencies post, this also meant a shift away from the generic term (“Gold”/Certified”) applying to a company instead of referring to a specific competency (ie. “Gold Desktop” or “Silver Virtualization”). If you haven’t read The Microsoft Partner Network: Gold Competencies & Silver Competencies post yet, please take a few moments to do so to make sure you understand the shift and why there are no longer “Gold Partners.” (Oh, and there has never been such a thing as a “Silver Partner.”)
When we made the shift from “Certified Partner” and “Gold Certified Partner” as a company designation, we realized that it would take some time for some of the partners to make the transition from the former branding to the new branding as well as the shift to earning their appropriate silver and/or gold competencies. Because of this, we offered a “Software and Logo Benefits Extension” for our former Certified Partner and Gold Certified Partner organizations that allowed them to:
- Continue to use Gold Certified and Certified logos in their marketing materials until October 31, 2011 and to refer to their Gold Certified or Certified status in communications and documents, such as bidding documents for tenders, until their membership renewal date.
- Continue to use their current Gold Certified and Certified partner software benefits until October 31, 2011, regardless of which new membership opportunity they chose at their next renewal date.
Well, as hard as it is to believe, that October 31, 2011 deadline is now just 7 weeks away, which means that the “Software and Logo Benefits Extension” for our former Certified Partner and Gold Certified Partner organizations is about to end. As such, once we pass the October 31, 2011 date, there is no such thing as the “Gold Certified Partner” or a “Certified Partner” branding anymore and all benefit extensions are gone. What this means is, as of November 1, 2011:
- Use of the “Gold Certified Partner” or “Certified Partner” logos should cease entirely, including your marketing materials (websites, newsletters, advertisements, etc.) or in your communications and documents, such as bidding documents.
- If you are a former Gold Certified or Certified partner and you have not achieved a gold or silver competency by October 31, 2011, you must uninstall any software licenses that have been provided to your organization based on achieving the Gold Certified or Certified partner level. The only licenses you will be eligible to use are those that you have earned based on your current membership in the Microsoft Partner Network. Check out the License Calculator tool to see what Internal Use Rights you receive with the various competencies in the Microsoft Partner Network.
As of November 1, 2011, the branding that you must use is the Microsoft Partner Network branding that includes the Microsoft Partner logo with the associated silver and/or gold competencies that your company has achieved to date, as the former branding is officially retired:
To help you with your logos for your business, we have the online Logo Builder tool available to all partners that makes it easy to create and download your logos for your company as a Microsoft partner, based on the competencies you have earned in the Microsoft Partner Network. In addition to the Logo Builder tool itself, we also have several online resources to help you understand how you can and cannot use the logos you have earned in the Microsoft Partner Network, as well as a Frequently Asked Questions list about creating and using your logo as a member of the Microsoft Partner Network.
This shift to the Microsoft Partner Network branding and the deadline for the Software and Logo Benefits Extension is something we have been communicating since the launch of the Microsoft Partner Network a year ago, so this should not be a surprise to anyone. I just thought I would put up this quick reminder since the date is quickly approaching and will be here before you know it. Oh, and before you say, “Seven weeks? That’s a long time.” Let me ask you this… Remember WPC 2011? Seems like just yesterday, doesn’t it? Well that was NINE weeks ago already. See how fast it’s going? Tick, tock…
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Thank you and have a wonderful day,
Eric Ligman – Follow me on TWITTER, LinkedIn, and RSS and see “What I’m thinking”
Director, Worldwide Partner Experience
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights