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Microsoft Cloud Partner Program is now going official after several months of Microsoft promising the service. On Monday, Microsoft announced the partner program while also discussing changes coming to the platform as it leaves preview.

October 3 has been Microsoft’s planned launch date for the Cloud Partner Program for some time. Plenty of partners said this was too soon to prepare for the requirements, but Microsoft has stuck to its schedule.

Microsoft Cloud Partner Program is a replacement for the outgoing Microsoft Partner Network (MPN). Introduced earlier this year, the program is much more than just a rebranding of MPN. For example, Microsoft is enforcing six new designations partners must comply with to meet the requirements of the program.

This is had caused controversy because many partners – even long-standing ones – argue they will need to transform how they conduct business with Microsoft.

Requirements

In a blog post, Nicole Dezen, Chief Partner Officer and Corporate Vice President, Global Partner Solutions says the benefits of the program outweigh inconveniences partners may be feeling currently:

“With the global reach, strategic investments, and technology stack from Microsoft, we empower our partners to create and sell differentiated products and end-to-end solutions for customers in any scenario and every industry. Additionally, we are committed to making the Cloud Partner Program a beneficial place for all partners, whether you build and sell services, software solutions, or devices.”

So, what are those six designations partners must meet? Well, in a separate blog, Microsoft lists the following partner designations:

  • “Data and AI: Data management, providing AI and analytics solutions in Azure
  • Infrastructure: Cloud migration with Azure
  • Digital and App Innovation: Building, running and managing applications in Azure across multiple clouds, on-premises and at the edge
  • Business Applications: Creating and running solutions with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft Power Platform
  • Modern Work: Focus on productivity with Microsoft 365
  • Security: Providing Microsoft’s compliance, security and identity solutions.”

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