San Francisco – The close collaboration that HP and Microsoft have had over the years got even closer yesterday at HP's Preferred Partner Conference when they announced a joint partner programme for EMEA. 

With the Frontline Partner Programme, the two companies will provide joint resellers with new business opportunities and skills development, as well as additional sales and marketing benefits.
Antoine Barre, HP's vice-president of the Solutions Partners Organisation, EMEA, says Frontline is a logical extension of the partnership that already exists between HP and Microsoft.
"This partnership has been used by both companies mainly in the end user chain and now we want to leverage it to our partners," Barre says. "We believe the time is right to allow joint, highly-skilled partners to drive new business with a strategic initiative endorsed by both HP and Microsoft. Both companies are 100% behind this strong collaboration and will be working closely with partners to continually update Frontline opportunities and benefits."
Wolfgang Ebermann, vice-president of Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners at Microsoft EMEA, further qualified the logic of the new programme.
"Your top partners are our top partners – there is more than 80% overlap" he told delegates. "And it would be great to get them together and take advantage of the new opportunities that are in the market."
Frontline will initially concentrate on unified communications (UC) and only Microsoft Gold Certified and HP ESS specialist partners will be able to enrol for the programme.
Qualifiying partners will be able to register for Frontline "when they get home from here", according to Barre. While initial benefits such as logos will be available immediately, the real benefits of the progamme will kick in from 1 July when partners can reap as much as 16% additional compensation on unified communications deals.
"From July, we will initiate 6% additional margin on the hardware side and 10% on software for UC sales," says Barre.
The two companies intend launching similar initiatives for virtualisation in the US fall (October).