"The impact this ecosystem has on the global economy is significant," IDC said. "It accounts for 42% of all employees at IT companies or in IT departments at IT-using organizations. Those 15 million employees helped generate nearly $500 billion in taxes in 2009 alone. The impact and the importance of the Microsoft partner ecosystem probably can't be overstated. ... In 2009, 44% of the hardware sold (by value) and 56% of the software sold (by value) ran on Microsoft operating systems."
Microsoft partners also did business with each other, accounting for $10 billion in annual revenue.
Since Microsoft relies heavily on partners to sell its goods, Redmond officials occasionally have to dance around the question of whether it competes directly against those same partners. Microsoft's offering of Windows Server instances on the Azure cloud service, for example, has been called a threat to Windows Server hosting partners. (See also: Microsoft opens new competitive fronts with cloud-based Windows Server.)
Microsoft said it has worked on boosting its Partner Network to give partners the training, resources and support needed to improve sales. Microsoft also pitched new cloud-based technologies as an opportunity to sell more hosting services based on Microsoft technology.
"Cloud-based solutions offer Microsoft partners the opportunity to grow by extending their current businesses via cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (private and/or public), software-as-a-service (Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite and/or Office 365), platform-as-a-service (Windows Azure) or a hybrid combined with on-premise solutions," Microsoft said.
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