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Microsoft rolls out channel scheme to target small businesses

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Microsoft has expanded its Direct Access scheme for resellers following growing channel interest in the scheme. The software heavyweight is offering a CD with its £199 package, which offers advice and product information to those selling to the SME market. This adds to existing products and training. There are also seminars taking place in London on 17 and 18 May. The CD is an online booklet offering advice on how issues like the Euro and the Web affect small and medium businesses. Microsoft said Direct Access was now targeting 21,000 resellers in the UK. There are currently 10,000 resellers involved in the scheme. Resellers receive a box with 30 software offerings, described by one Microsoft reseller as "a techie sweet shop", from which they can choose 13. These 13 products, for internal use or demonstration purposes, are worth around £4000, according to Microsoft. VARs also get one free training seminar and the opportunity to attend the quarterly briefings on technology and market updates. Ian Brooks, MD of Cardiff reseller IB Business Development, applauded the scheme: "More vendors need to realise that the SME market is different to selling to larger companies. It isn’t a matter of simply using the same business techniques on a smaller scale." Direct Access originally started last February as Net Results. It expanded into a more complete programme due to channel interest in selling to the SME market. ®

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