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So Who Here Has Signed Up For Empower?

When I first heard about Microsoft's Empower program several months ago, I thought it was a great idea.  Of course, I procrastinated on joining up while I was out of work and broke.  But now that I'm doing project work regularly again, I am considering it.

Has anyone else here signed on to the Empower program?  What kind of support do you get besides the big box o' software?  Do they offer help with marketing and such?

I could ask these questions of Microsoft, but I'd really like to hear the perspective of an ISV who is currently in the program.

Norrick
Saturday, October 18, 2003

I'd like to, but I'm not sure how literally MS is enforcing the requirement that the software be "packaged".  I have a program that is web-downloadable, and its not clear to me that we are eligible.

Anyone know?

Mike Garrett
Saturday, October 18, 2003

My guess is that "packaged" means that you publicly offer and advertise some kind of product that is formally "productized" - it installs (IE, no zip file to manually unzip and path by the user) and shows up on the Add/Remove Programs list, has help files, and is a discrete chunk of functionality without user coding required. Basically, sounds like MS wants you to sell something that you develop for Windows. I doubt seriously that having a physical box is a requirement.

Another possibility is that you have to have the product Windows logo certified.

Bored Bystander
Saturday, October 18, 2003

Gotta wonder if Remedy or something like Biztalk or Sharepoint would qualify...

Philo

Philo
Saturday, October 18, 2003

Mike,

I just e-mailed that exact question to them. Our product is ASP business model: no installation required on the client side. I'm curious whether we qualify or not.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Saturday, October 18, 2003

I don't know, we joined up to the regular partner program. We got our software "designed for XP gold" certified. The whole deal pays for itself just in reduced license fees. (10 MSDN + 100 Client licenses)

Peter Ibbotson
Sunday, October 19, 2003

It is very very tempting.

But I am quite happy with my GNU toolchain, thanks.  Costs even less!

(Don't feed me!)

i like i
Monday, October 20, 2003

The Empower program cost is slightly higher than the $750 initial cost, because you have to get your application certified (about $800, if you pass the first time), and it costs $400 to sign up with Verisign so you have the appropriate 'code signing ID' to use for the test (the $400 is good for one year.)

On the other hand, we actually found some obscure bugs in our software prior to sending off the package to Veritest, so that was worthwhile.

Dan Brown
Monday, October 20, 2003

Just to echo that comment about the Veritest stuff. The testing while in theory fairly "mickey mouse" uncovered a pile of little edge cases in our software that needed to be fixed and gave us the extra push necessary. (Some bits of our app didn't handle having the titlebar resize correctly)

It would be a good task for an intern to perform (particularly the testing).

Peter Ibbotson
Monday, October 20, 2003

Why not pay the $1100 dollars it costs to join the MCSP program?  You get all the same software, and all you have to do is have two people pass a single MCP test.

Guy Incognito
Monday, October 20, 2003

http://members.microsoft.com/partner/partnering/programs/certifiedpartner/

Guy Incognito
Monday, October 20, 2003

I checked with the Empower program, and ASP business model applications DO quality for the program. The "packaged application" language is, I think, misleading in that it makes you think desktop app. They verified that an ASP business model application is fine, as long as it meets the requirements (i.e., it uses Windows 2003, or SQL Server 2000).

To the person who says "why not MCSP?", I think the answer is that Empower is a good stepping stone for small companies who don't have any MCPs on staff yet. They get a year in which to deliver their product and get two MCP tests passed, so they can then become a certified partner.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

I'm examining the Empower ISV Legal agreement.  It explicitly states the software licenses expire at the end of the term agreement unless valid licenses are acquired.  It also state Microsoft reserves the right to audit Member's use of said saoftware ( which shouldn;t be hard since they have your information ).  Coupled with the provision that "it is the intent of both parties that Member will join the Microsoft Certified Partner Program" seems to me to mean to true cost to my organization is :

$750  ( initial join )
$400  ( Verisign ID )
$800  ( Veritas Test )
+???  ( Join MS Certified partner program after one year )
-------
= ??? ( true cost of ownership )

Now, I would like to simply forget all that other stuff, however it seems that at the end of one year there is a high probability Microsoft will call and ask if you're enrolling in the Certified Partner Program ( which somewhere on the internet indicated was ~ $1500 year ).  When we say no, thanks, they say okay, please uninstall Visual Studio, to which we either upset all our developers or ignore it and risk legal consequences.

As badly as I'd like Visual Studio 2003, this seems like a bad way to get it.

Someone tell me I'm wrong!

MDog90
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

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