Microsoft adds Canadian content to system builder program

Microsoft Canada Co. has decided to wipe its system builder program clean and begin anew.

The Mississauga, Ont.-based company Monday announced a revamped, tiered rebate structure to ensure its program is open to any and all system

builders in the country, said Susan Harper, COEM and anti-piracy marketing manager for Microsoft Canada.

Officially dubbed the Canadian System Builder Program (CSBP), Harper said Canuck system builders would now have a Web site dedicated towards them, complete with Canadian content. The CSBP replaces Microsoft’s former Gold Member Program. Harper said by improving the rebate and reward offerings via a two-tiered structure, any Canadian system builder can now participate.

“Under the Gold Member Program, our system builders were required to sell 1,000 units per quarter,”” Harper said. “”(In CSBP) there’s no pre-qualification required, as this tiered program starts as low as 400 units per quarter.”

Microsoft Canada currently works with about 3,500 system builders nationwide, but with a third tier to be added to the CSBP in the coming months, Harper said she expected to see a many more join the program.

The CSBP offers information on pre-installing Microsoft products onto systems, technical support, product and sales details, online training and tools, as well as evaluation software.

“What we had here initially is the U.S. site,” Harper explained. “Months ago we added a link that added a Canadian promotions page to the site…we polled our system builders first to see what they liked about the American site, and we incorporated that information into this all-Canadian site.

“It also incorporates the Canadian Certified Partners site and the VAR Direct site.”

Microsoft Canada has also decided to extend its Eyes on the Prize event – an opportunity to score rewards such as $10,000 in American Express traveller’s cheques, Xbox video game consoles, and PC gaming packs. Running from Jan. 15 until June 30, the goal is to encourage system builders to sell as many Microsoft Office XP small business software licenses as possible.

Harper explained that Eyes on the Prize was initially launched three months ago, but due to the economic climate at the time returns weren’t as good as expected. The re-launch is designed to give system builders another six-month window to participate. Microsoft will collect sales information from its authorized distributors.

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