Microsoft to halt incentives for some products sold outside NCE

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Microsoft to halt incentives for some products sold outside NCE

Microsoft will go forward with plans to end partner incentives for certain products sold under the old way of transacting licenses and services from the vendor.

Legacy incentives for these SKUs will end December 31, according to Microsoft.

Partners can only earn new incentives on these offers through the New Commerce Experience (NCE).

Those transacting under the legacy commerce experience won’t generate monthly incentive earnings or payments.

“As we continue our journey to [NCE], our partner incentives are evolving,” Microsoft said.

“We currently offer partner incentives for more than 400 Azure, Microsoft 365, and Dynamics 365 SKUs in [NCE] to support partners as they migrate customers to the new experience.”

CRN has reached out to Microsoft for comment.

The list of affected SKUs did not appear to be available to people without a Partner Centre login.

A Partner Capability Score (PCS) is used to assign new designations now that Microsoft has ended its classic Gold and Silver competencies.

If partners attained or renewed a legacy competency by September 30, 2022, then they have until their first anniversary date after October 3, 2022, to earn one of the new Solutions Partner designations and receive that designation’s partner benefits.

Partners who don’t have a new designation after that anniversary date can pay a fee to retain old benefits or buy Microsoft Action Packs, according to the vendor.

They can still receive legacy incentives on non-commercial offers that aren’t available through NCE—including offers for education, government and nonprofit customers.

Not only must partners transact new offers through NCE, but they also need to be enrolled in the Microsoft Commerce Incentives (MCI) program and meet eligibility requirements, according to the vendor.

The MCI program is how partner incentives are earned and paid.

NCE incentives will be 100 per cent rebates to start instead of a split between rebates and cooperative marketing funds, according to the vendor.

In July, Microsoft appeared to have removed language about rebates from the delay announcement, according to screenshots available on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

Partners have been unable to buy new orders under the old platform since March.

NCE channel controversy

NCE has proven controversial with partners due to a 20 percent premium put on month-to-month subscriptions, which are popular with customers of Microsoft services-led partners. Instead, partners have told CRN, customers are incentivized to buy annual subscriptions.

The problem with annual subscriptions for partners is that they can be on the hook for paying the duration of the subscription should a customer go out of business, get acquired or need fewer licenses.

What’s more, partners and customers are stuck together during the length of the contract and partners are stuck with their distributors (known as “indirect providers” by Microsoft).

Partners have asked Microsoft for a way to make licenses portable so that they can accept new customers who leave their existing MSP.

A 16.67 percent discount is available until June 30 to ease the financial burden of NCE and price increases Microsoft enacted on multiple products earlier this year.

The discount applies to new Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform customers, existing M365 customers who upgrade their license type and M365 and D365 customers who leave the old commerce platform for NCE.

“The promotion allows customers to start with a low-risk monthly subscription across the Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365 and Power Platform products offered in the promotion,” according to Microsoft.

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