CRN ran a story this morning about how Microsoft is like Philip Morris. I know that expecting web sites to avoid link bait is like expecting candidates running for the oval office to tell the truth. Even so, this one is over the top. There are many companies with comparable growth rates to Microsoft. Picking the one that sells an addictive product that causes cancer and that spent decades undermining efforts to understand the effects of cigarette smoke -- is poor form.
The article did make one good point though: when channel partners pick the vendors they partner with, they are making investments. In fact, they are making very big investments.
CRN says that channel partners should partner with Apple, Cognizant, Google, Rackspace, and Salesforce.com instead of Microsoft because those companies are growing faster. Really?!?
Let's take this apart company by company:
Apple: Apple is in fact starting a partner program. Apple however does not have a single enterprise software app. It can offer a desktop operating system, and a productivity suite, but Microsoft has hundreds of products -- and most of them solve very real enterprise computing problems.
Cognizant: Most people have never heard of this company. It is in fact a $6 billion dollar company, but it is a consulting and outsourcing firm -- a competitor to most channel partners. I bet it is a very big Microsoft partner. So there really is no reason a solution partner would partner with this organization instead of Microsoft.
Google: Google is kicking everyone's behind in search. True. But I can't think of how it would make sense as a channel partner to give up Microsoft's partner program in exchange for Google. Google offers no side by side go to market capabilities to support partners. Even if we were to humor CRN and think for 10 more seconds about this one - how can a partner make any money deploying Google Docs? This is one of those cases where Google takes a dollar someone else is making and turns it into a dime of advertising for itself. So Google can take revenue away from Microsoft, but it does not have that dollar to share with its channel partners.
Rackspace: Rackspace is not even a software company.
Salesforce.com: Salesforce.com, like Oracle (where Benioff came from) has a nasty habit of eating its own young. A few companies have made a living working with Salesforce.com, but most get run over by their scorched earth sales team. And all of that to partner with a company that has one product. Oh sorry, two products if you count Chatter as a seperate product.
Microsoft has made its way in the world by working side by side with its hundreds of thousands of partners worldwide. There are some companies that are growing faster, but none that comes anywhere close to supporting a partner ecosystem like Microsoft does.
It is hard to imagine what CRN was smoking when they proposed that Microsoft was like Philip Morris!