Summary of the Partner Program Session at MIX08


Hat tip to Shane Morris for linking to the Canadian UX team's summary of the Microsoft Partner Program for Designers, Developers and Agencies at Mix08, with Bill Vlandis (left) and Hakan Soderbom (right) on 5 March.

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Summary of the session:

There are a number of programs in place from Microsoft that you can take advantage of to grow your business.  These programs are put in place to help you get the competencies you need to successfully grow your business by building web solutions on the Microsoft platform, whether you are a designer, agency, web developer or systems integrator.  Below is a list of relevant programs that you might be interested in looking into, along with there benefits.

  • Microsoft Partner Program (MSPP)
    • This is the all-up program for all Microsoft Partners
    • Registration as a partner is free (for Registered member level) and the sign-up process takes less than 20 minutes
    • There are three levels of Partners:  Registered, Certified and Gold Certified, each with different benefits
    • Microsoft Action Packs (MAPS)
      • Available to all Microsoft Partners
      • Costs A$699, but in the MAPS kit is over $20,000 worth of software that you can use to build your web solutions (i.e. the software is for you to build web solutions, not for resale)
      • There is a Web Add-On kit that is also available that provides you with Expression Studio and other technologies.  The Web Add-On kit is free to MAPS subscribers but you are required to pass a test (which really doesn't take that long to complete, nor is it particularly difficult to pass).  Click here to visit my step-by-step guide to enrol.
    • To register yourself/company as a Microsoft Partner, go to
  • Mercury Program
    • For web solutions providers (web design agencies and web development studios)
    • Meant to provide support for web design / web development partners since the MSPP doesn't have a specific web design competency integrated into the program yet.
    • Benefits of Mercury
      • Exposure to Expression Studio and other creative web technologies from Microsoft (such as Silverlight and AJAX)
      • Provides workshop and training opportunities
      • Access to demos and how-to content
      • Free design and web development support
      • More information can be found at
  • Silverlight Partner Initiative
    • Meant for partners that wish to build compelling web solutions using Silverlight
    • There are three levels in the program:  Standard, Alliance and Premier, each with increasing support from Microsoft
    • Anyone can join this program
    • Benefits include technical help and content to help you get up to speed with Silverlight as well as marketing support from Microsoft to help grow your Silverlight business
    • More information can be found at
    • Have a question about the Silverlight Partner Initiative?  Send an email to
  • Microsoft Hosting Community
    • Launching in mid-April this year
    • Provides marketing and technical resources to hosters and partners wishing to explore hosting as a way to grow their business
    • More information is at
  • Visual Studio Industry Program (VSIP)
    • Meant for partners that are building add-ons and plug-ins to Visual Studio 2008
    • Program provides technical and marketing support for your solution
  • InnovateOn
    • Microsoft's engine to provide self-service support to partners
    • Provides technical and business content to help you understand how Microsoft can help you grow your business and get the skills you need
    • A web-specific subsite will be launching soon
    • Website: