REDMOND, Wash., July 29, 2003 — After gathering feedback from customers and industry partners alike, Microsoft has improved renamed its Visual Studio Integration Partner (VSIP) program by providing easier access to Microsoft Visual Studio integration technology and expanding its co-marketing program to better serve the needs of tools software vendors and enterprise customers.
Renamed as the Visual Studio Industry Partner program, VSIP is a worldwide technology and marketing program that offers extensibility capabilities — through the VSIP Software Development Kit (SDK) — that allow industry partners to deeply integrate development tools, programming languages and components with Visual Studio .NET, and provide their customers with a seamless development experience. The revamped program now offers three tiers of membership to better accommodate the diverse needs of the Visual Studio developer ecosystem.
“The Visual Studio Industry Partner program responds to a clear customer need,”
says Marie Huwe, general manager of Microsoft’s Developer and Platform Evangelism Division.
“In expanding the program, we hope to foster a vibrant community of new partners, as well as corporate customers, academics and hobbyists, all of whom may now integrate their applications and offerings with the breadth of functionality in Visual Studio .NET 2003.”
With over 175 partners in the original program and over 300 shipping partner products, VSIP has been a great success to date. In the enhanced VSIP program, even more partners and businesses across the industry can build applications and services that tightly integrate into the Visual Studio Integrated Development Environment (IDE).
“As VSIP partners began shipping and realizing business, customer and time-to-market successes with their Visual Studio integrated products, more and more potential partners, large and small, began asking for access to the technology, relationship and marketing benefits,”
“These requests came from hundreds of corporations, small independent software vendors (ISVs), component vendors, systems integrators, academics, and LOB/Desktop application vendors.”
Micro Focus joined VSIP last year in response to customer demand for a highly productive and industry leading IDE and support for the .NET Framework. Terry Glenn, Micro Focus’ director of the Microsoft alliance, says VSIP participation has allowed greater flexibility in how the Mountain View, California-based firm packages its enterprise applications solutions, and at the same time has strengthened its relationship with Microsoft in sales and technology.
“We have benefited substantially from the VSIP program and relationship with Microsoft, says Glenn.”
We are delivering a more productive solution at the same time getting out to the marketplace much faster.
Glenn adds that the new VSIP program will enable him to reach even more customers who want to efficiently move mainframe COBOL applications to the Microsoft platform using Visual Studio .NET 2003.
Microsoft Enhances Opportunities for Partners
The expanded VSIP program now offers multiple levels — Affiliate, Alliance, and Premier — to support partners’ individual needs. The new levels replace a single, fee-based membership option in the old program. The Affiliate level is free, and members receive free access to the VSIP software development kit (SDK), related technologies, a click-through license agreement, royalty-free distribution for partner integrated products, free newsgroup technical support, and an online catalog listing when the partner has a commercially available Microsoft .NET-related product. Huwe says this level is particularly attractive to academics, shareware developers, and small ISVs — audiences Microsoft considers critical to a healthy industry ecosystem.
David Abramson, professor at the School of Computer Science and Software Engineering at Monash University in Australia, has been participating in the program for the past two years.
“In 2001 we joined the Visual Studio .NET Integration Program to see if we could integrate our work into an existing mature commercial product like Visual Studio. The results have been fantastic. Our ideas are actually very simple, and augment conventional test and debug with a few new primitives.”
“We are currently shipping a beta evaluation copy of our software, VSGuard. To transition from a graduate-student research project to a commercial prototype is not easy, but VSIP has made that transition fairly smooth. We’re excited about the new opportunities the program will now offer us. I could imagine a number of university projects being able to follow the same path.”
The second level of VSIP is called the Alliance level, and requires an annual fee of US$3,000. In addition to the Affiliate level benefits, Alliance-level members will receive a one-year MSDN Universal Subscription, access to the program logo, and additional co-marketing activities. All members of the Microsoft .NET Component Builder Program automatically became VSIP Alliance level members as of July 29, 2003.
Dean Guida, CEO of New Jersey-based Infragistics, a leading provider of reusable presentation layer components, says the co-marketing opportunities the program offers gives his company specific, targeted access to millions of Visual Studio .NET 2003 developers.
“The program will help us greatly extend our outreach into the developer community,”
“Infragistics’ business strategy has always been focused on extending and complementing the Microsoft .NET Framework. Joining forces with Microsoft in the Visual Studio Industry Partner program will provide us with a distinct competitive advantage by allowing us to experience even greater benefits of the extensibility of Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003.”
The Premier level, into which existing VSIP members will be grandfathered, comes with a $10,000 annual membership fee. The program includes all the benefits of the Alliance level, as well as eligibility for Visual Studio .NET redistribution license, eligibility to distribute the new Visual Studio Premier Partner edition (IDE SKU), and targeted marketing activities.
Visual Studio Premier Partner edition enables Premier-level VSIP program members to ship their products along with the base Visual Studio .NET development environment. The Partner edition consists of the Visual Studio .NET Integrated Development Environment (IDE) without the compilers, project templates, and tools found in the Standard, Professional, and Enterprise editions of Visual Studio.
Existing Partners Pleased with New Benefits of VSIP
Steve Schmidt, director of product management for InstallShield Software Corp., says his company has gained enormous benefit with the current program and is excited to become a Premier partner of the new program. Illinois-based InstallShield, which provides software installation, distribution and deployment solutions for ISVs and corporate IT systems administrators, was one of the VSIP program’s original members in 1999.
“We’re very excited about the opportunity to license and distribute the IDE. It will quickly provide our customers with robust capabilities, even if they’ve not acquired the latest copy of Visual Studio .NET 2003,”
“We continue to anticipate and meet the needs of our customers by completely supporting the latest Microsoft technologies, and our participation in VSIP makes that even easier to accomplish. InstallShield solutions allow our customers to take advantage of the new features of Visual Studio .NET 2003 and create powerful installations for applications on any platform or device.”
Micro Focus’ Glenn says his company also will continue to be a premier level VSIP partner.
“Having a direct relationship with Microsoft has been incredibly beneficial. It’s helped us to create well-received products,”
“The .NET Framework is integrated into Microsoft technology, and our participation in the VSIP program has given us access to Microsoft’s vast marketing resources.”
Glenn adds that he is pleased the new program format will make Visual Studio .NET technology more accessible to academics, another target audience for Micro Focus.
Huwe says that the program continues to provide essential marketing and technology benefits, while invigorating parts of the developer ecosystem that have not had access to the technology or support.
“This will allow academics, shareware developers, and other smaller partners to have access to the power of the .NET Framework and Visual Studio .NET,”
“Our goal is to ensure that the world’s most widely used development tool, Visual Studio .NET, continues to support and deliver the most vibrant and successful developer ecosystem in the industry.”