Ouch.  Well I can guess who will be getting that competency.  Larger firms and Geek Squads.

What are the requirements to earn the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business Competency? – Microsoft SMS&P Partner Community Blog – By Eric Ligman – Site Home – MSDN Blogs:

$1850 a year?  And requiring the Office 365 exam when nearly every partner I hear doesn’t like Microsoft billing their clients direct?

Man, I could be wrong but but nearly every SMB partner I know will consider this to be a slap in their face and only for the big partners.

More details:

Why you should care about the Small Business competency:
Details on the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business Competency announced – Microsoft SMS&P Partner Community Blog – By Eric Ligman – Site Home – MSDN Blogs:


8 Responses to What are the requirements to earn the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business Competency?

  1. dl80 says:

    “slap in the face” describes it best!

  2. That´s part of my post to Eric: “I´m NOT totaly against membership fees, but , Eric, bigger companys will now have an advantage and therefore MPN will become a 2-class network in my opinion.”



  3. Robert Crane says:


    Agree. I will also say that from what I can see the O365 exams are tough and very enterprise (hybrid) focused. Not SMB friendly at all. Reckon that SBS 2011 Essentials is tested by any of the competency exams? Not to my knowledge! Isn’t that the ‘cloud’ focused OS for SMB? Why isn’t that being tested along with its connection to O365?

    Robert Crane

  4. Pete P says:

    I apologize for my lack of professionalism but WTF! Eric does say “We will announce more program details in April but, no need to fear. We’ve adjusted the requirements for small partners to be eligible for this competency as well.” This is April, his post was yesterday, and there’s only a few days left in the month. Am I missing something?

    Also, what about the Action Pack? Do we still have pay for this separately or is it included?

  5. Joe Raby says:

    I’ve said the same about the Program-formerly-known-as-WHQL/WinQual.

    Testing a single PC configuration in a series cost $250 – for something that is tested by YOU. The tools are free, the testing is pretty well automated, but to submit your test results, it’s $250/PC. AND you aren’t allowed to update drivers within those test results, so customers can’t benefit from driver updates without breaking your WinQual agreement. If you update ANYTHING on the computer, it’s another $250 to submit new test results.

    For a system that is automated, this is a bit preposterous.

    Luckily, they are dropping the price for testing Windows/Server 8 computers to $100. Rightfully so though, what with computers being far cheaper than they used to be, and testing procedures and requirements becoming far more complex.

    I hope to see more certified systems because of this. I’d like to invest in getting logo certification for systems that I build too, but the previous cost of entry made it a no-go.

  6. Nat Wallis says:

    As a small business owner with a couple of techs the only issue I see with this is the O365 exams.

    The cost I am okay with because there are benefits of this (support, internal licenses etc). Some might argue value of this but there is some value to this.

    Of the 500 machines we look after a grand total of 0 use O365. We have a handful with cloud services for different things but in country Western Australia we have massive bandwidth and latency issues. So for many customers hosted services just doesn’t work.

    But we specialize in 5-25 seat networks. But will have to do some specific training in O365 for basically nothing.

    I would think that an sbs essentials 2011 exam which covered basic integration with O365 would be a lot more useful and applicable for small business requirements.

    Take out the O365 exam requirements. I don’t have an issue if it is an option, it just shouldn’t be a requirement.

  7. Greg says:

    Just trying to calculate if I sold 58% of my clients exchange online would the commission cover the cost of the program?

  8. Eric Ligman says:

    Thank you very much for all of the great questions and comments about the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business competency. To better answer all of these, as well as others I have seen and/or anticipate people may have, I just posted a full Q&A to help address these. You can view it on my blog (www.MSPartnerBlog.com) and here is the direct link to the post: http://ligman.me/KMOnXa.

    Thank you,

    Eric Ligman
    Director of Partner Experience
    Microsoft Corporation