Microsoft has waived registration fees for Inspire 2020 as the world’s largest channel conference goes digital-only from July 21-22.
With registration set to open in June, there will now be no cost to attend for partners following cancellation of the in-person event, which was originally scheduled to house 18,000 attendees in Las Vegas. Pre-Covid-19, registration prices started at US$2,295, rising to $2,595 after three weeks of early-bird sign-ups.
Channel Asia has requested confirmation from Microsoft as to whether the move also applies to distributors and alliance vendor partners.
According to Gavriella Schuster - corporate vice president of One Commercial Partner at Microsoft - the digital-only conference will be “absolutely free” for partners across the world.
“That means you can invite as many people from your organisation as you like, so they can be a part of this very special experience,” added Schuster, in a direct message to the vendor’s partner ecosystem.
Inspire is designed to document Microsoft’s channel strategy for the year ahead, alongside showcasing innovative partners from across the world, backed by structured networking and peer-to-peer learning programs.
The changes centre around increasing incentives and issuing competency extensions across specific product portfolios such as Teams and Azure, alongside postponing Microsoft Partner Agreement implementation plans. This is in addition to ramping up online training and certifications, backed by improved access to digital marketing resources.
Schuster said the vendor understands that some partners may want to accelerate pace during this period, while other partners may want to slow things down.
"Regardless, what is most important for you to know at this moment in time is that we are listening to feedback from you, our partners, and doing what we can to help," she added.
The adjustments followed a partner update in mid-March which focused more on outlining best practices through educational content, training resources and technical assistance. Less than three weeks later however, Schuster said further changes were instigated in response to daily developments related to the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Every day, we are learning more and more about the global impact of the coronavirus,” Schuster acknowledged at the time. “For decades, Microsoft partners have been at the centre of how we deliver technologies and business transformation to customers.
"Today, more than ever, we need to collaborate and co-innovate to meet those customers’ needs. For our part, that means ensuring that we’re giving you the support you need in the weeks and months to come."