In 1994, Matrixforce joined the Microsoft Solution Provider Program. The era was defined by IBM mainframes and Novell networks. NetWare was a solid file and print platform, but maintenance was laborious and any server applications caused frequent hangs and crashes. RPG and COBOL were giving way to C and relational databases, so it was time to gamble on an emerging player.
The buzzword was certification. Not only did you have to become expert in the Microsoft products, you mastered new standards like TCP/IP for networking. The failure rate of 70% for the tests continues today. Few technology professionals have earned a degree and fewer have current Microsoft certification.
Unlike traditional reseller programs, Microsoft gave software licenses for internal use, provided all kinds of swag, and even sample business and marketing plans – all for free. Through the 90′s Matrixforce was part of various major technology wars:
- Windows vs. IBM OSx
- NT Server vs. Novell NetWare
- Word vs. WordPerfect
- Excel vs. Lotus 1-2-3
- Exchange vs. Lotus Notes
- Internet Explorer vs. Netscape Navigator
- SQL Server vs. Oracle
Then three things happened: the technology industry matured, the world grew tired of being humiliated by American technology, and fear and loathing began. Oh and then there were things like Y2K and 9-11. Specialization push by Microsoft was good as technology is broader than any other field. The Microsoft Partner levels (Registered, Certified, and Gold) also signaled commitment and competency. In 2003, Matrixforce became Oklahoma’s first Gold Certified Microsoft Partner in Security. That same year, Matrixforce was also 1 of only 30 national Microsoft Partner’s to receive exclusive training in the new releases of Windows Server and Exchange.
Detractors like to call the 2000s the lost years for Microsoft. They forget that Microsoft has always been very profitable and remains so. Surely, they also missed the other wars won during this period like Windows over Linux, Hyperv over VMware, Xbox over PlayStation, and Windows Mobile over Blackberry.
Matrixforce has already spent 5 years moving customers to the cloud with Microsoft services like Office 365, which is also beating Google Apps by nearly 3 to 1. The competition likes to say we’re “too Microsoft” and that Gold is just a color. It’s often lost in the conversation, but to really be successful you have to learn competing and third-party products, as it’s never going to be a world dominated by just one software vendor. To us, it’s a specialty and a higher level of commitment to our expertise and the well-being of customers.