Many businesses, especially those in the software or online industry, become certified Microsoft Gold Partners. Aside from the status of having that title, partners receive 100 license keys for every Microsoft software product to install on company computers, technical support and 10 Microsoft Visual Studio licenses. Gold partners must re-enrol in the program every year. Enrolment includes paying a fee and earning enough partner points throughout the year to qualify.
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Begin the enrolment process at the Microsoft Partner website (see Resources for link). Click the "Network Membership" tab, and click "Enroll" on the left under "Getting Started." Sign in with your Windows Live ID. If you do not have a Windows Live ID, create one at the Windows Live sign up page (see Resources for link); then sign in.
Fill out the company information, including company name, website, description of services, business focus, size and Microsoft products you currently use. Submit the company profile when you are finished.
Read and agree to the partner terms and conditions.
Earn one Microsoft Network Partner competency. A competency distinguishes your business expertise within the network. As of August 2010, there are 29 possible competencies you can earn, divided into six categories: Core Infrastructure Optimization, Business Productivity Infrastructure Optimization, Application Platform Optimization, Customer Relationship Management (CRM)/Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Small Business Customers and Cross Platform. Read more about competencies from the Competency Guide in the Resources section. To submit competencies, go to the Microsoft Partner website (see Resources for link) and sign in to your account, and under the "Requirements & Assets" tab, click "Competency Summary."
Earn 120 partner points. You can earn partner points in a number of ways, depending on the nature of your business. Competencies can earn you points, as can customer reviews, Microsoft Certified Professional certifications, approved software tools you developed and sales of Microsoft products. You can view the various ways to earn and submit points on the Microsoft Partner website (see Resources for link). Sign in to your account, and under the "Membership Status" tab, click "View Partner Points."
Pay your enrolment fee once the competency and partner points requirements are met in your account. The fee varies each year by company. To pay the fee, log in to your account and click "Enroll" or "Re-Enroll" under the "Membership Status" button. You will see a "Pay Now" button. If the button is disabled, you have not yet met the competency and points requirements. Submit the competencies or points, or contact Microsoft Partner Network customer support to inquire what you are missing.
Obtain your partner ID after successfully enrolling and paying your fee. You can now access the product license key downloads and install Microsoft software on your company computers.
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