By Don Dodge, Emerging Business Team, Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft partners get $8 of revenue for every $1 to Microsoft. We are talking hundreds of billions of dollars. That is billions with a “B”. System Integrators (SIs) large and small do a big business integrating Microsoft products with custom applications and legacy systems. Software companies (ISVs) also do a good business selling applications on top of Microsoft platforms, or applications that add functionality to other Microsoft products.

Microsoft will do about $44B in revenue this year and has over 60,000 employees. It is a big company, but still very approachable. There are lots of partner programs designed to help you be successful on your own.
Become a partner. The first step is to sign up on-line as a partner. Microsoft partners are eligible for lots of free on-line training that covers technology, support and business.
Marketing help. Visit the Partner Marketing Center to learn about how you can participate in Microsoft marketing campaigns and resources to help you build your own campaign.
Build your sales channel. Microsoft has a Partner Channel Builder program that helps you find appropriate channel partners and build alliances.
Get free software and support. The Empower Program for ISVs helps new software companies get software, consulting, and MSDN subscriptions for the low price of just $375. The software alone is worth over $10,000.
Join the ISV community. Microsoft has a special ISV Zone for software companies. Find partners, get leads, get beta software, and get involved in the community.
Microsoft Startup Zone. If you are a startup you should visit the Microsoft StartupZone. The StartupZone is managed by the Emerging Business Team which is focused on helping startups build a relationship with Microsoft. I work in the Emerging Business Team and this blog is part of our outreach efforts to small startups.
Emerging Business Team. How can the Emerging Business Team help you? It depends on the stage of your company and what type of help you need.
If you are in the development stage we can sometimes help you get access to beta software or get you access to our performance labs and testing labs. If you are launching your product we can sometimes hook you up with a relevant Microsoft marketing campaign. If you have a product that complements a Microsoft product or adds functionality we can introduce you to the product team for a possible closer partnership. If you are already actively selling to customers we can sometimes introduce you to the Microsoft Account Manager for those customers. We can also refer you to Systems Integrators who might be interested in picking up your product.
Who can help my startup? The Emerging Business Team is organized by product area. Visit Microsoft StartupZone to see who covers each area, and an email address where you can reach them directly. They are all listed right on the front page.
Microsoft is serious about partners. There are thousands of people at Microsoft dedicated to helping partners succeed. Take the first step and join the partner program.

Don Dodge’s blog, The Next Big Thing is good reading for anyone interested in how Microsoft has gotten very serious about partnering with software companies of all sizes. This post, used with permission, appeared there on May 16th.

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