October 22, 2019

The new, streamlined CSP Microsoft Partner Agreement

By Microsoft US Partner Team

We at Microsoft are committed to transforming the Microsoft commerce experience to better support customer needs in a cloud-first world and to offering you – our partners – a more agile and streamlined way to do business with Microsoft. To help us meet this goal, we’re introducing the Microsoft Partner Agreement.

The Microsoft Partner Agreement (MPA) makes the contracting experience easier while continuing to meet regulatory obligations and promote trust among Microsoft, partners, and customers. This dynamically created agreement delivers relevant terms based on partner type and the offers you’re qualified to sell. All partners in the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program must accept the Microsoft Partner Agreement prior to January 31, 2020. It never expires and is updated digitally.

Who needs the MPA?

All partners are required to sign the MPA in order to transact in the CSP program. This includes indirect providers, direct providers, indirect resellers, and those covered by multi-tier terms and US Government Cloud terms. Please note that only authorized persons should accept the MPA on behalf of your organization.

So, what’s changed?

The MPA includes some key improvements to clarify obligations around working with Microsoft and others. Please review this newly released Key benefits and enhancements document that highlights the key differences between the Microsoft Cloud Reseller Agreement (MCRA)/ Microsoft Cloud Distributer Agreement (MCDA) and the new Microsoft Partner Agreement (MPA).

For indirect providers and indirect resellers

Existing agreements: MCRA and MCDA lacks explicit guidance about distribution through indirect resellers.

MPA: New obligation for distributors to point collaborative resellers to Microsoft to execute terms that support compliant distribution.

Implication: Microsoft and partner cooperate to ensure compliant distribution practices of downstream resellers.

Value to partners: Protection of long-term growth and business continuity through improved transparency, compliance, and lawful business practices.

For direct bill, indirect providers, and indirect resellers

Existing agreements: Compliance with law limited to anti-corruption.

MPA: Addresses a more extensive set of legal concerns.

Implication: Flexible terms accommodate a variety of transactional engagements.

Value to partners: More relevant terms make it easier to adhere to privacy regulations and sound business practices.

Payments and credit

Affecting direct bill and indirect providers

Existing agreements: Ambiguous about Microsoft’s actions on late payment; financial reports required annually.

MPA: Explicitly defines Microsoft’s options in case of late payment (freeze on orders, prepayment requirement for future orders, reducing credit limit); explicit articulation when offsets are permitted; financial reports to be provided only on request.

Implication: Consistent enforcement of Microsoft late payment and offset policies; reduced reporting burden.

Value to partners: This helps partners better understand their rights and responsibilities, and helps Microsoft guarantee continuous service to partners and customers.

Discount passthrough

Affecting direct bill, indirect providers, and indirect resellers

Existing agreements: Discount passthrough not explicitly addressed.

MPA: Explicitly articulates your obligations regarding discount transparency and passthrough.

Implication: Rigorous enforcement of compliance policies, especially in government sector.

Value to partners: Benefits of a stronger channel to safeguard the sound business practices and maintain trust.

Administrator access

Affecting direct bill, indirect providers, and indirect resellers

Existing agreements: No clear guidance on how a partner should manage admin access related to customer accounts.

MPA: Streamlined requirements for partner management access; clear procedure for granting admin access to downstream Indirect Resellers.

Implication: Improved compliance with privacy law.

Value to partners: Confidently grant and manage admin access to third-party technical and customer service providers.

Who should sign the Microsoft Partner Agreement?

All partners in the CSP program must accept the Microsoft Partner Agreement prior to January 31, 2020 to ensure no disruption of their ability to make orders for new or existing customers under the CSP program. After reviewing the terms with their legal team and business leadership, it is the global admin of the CSP tenant who accepts the agreement on Partner Center.

Microsoft Partner Agreement FAQs

I have questions

The MPA is designed to streamline the way you do business with Microsoft. We’re here to help you stay compliant and continue bringing value to customers.

Watch Partner Office Hours

Helpful resources:

Microsoft Partner Agreement preview via Partner Network site
MPA resources: aka.ms/csp-agreements
Reseller onboarding resources gallery (CSP Indirect Providers only)

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