Microsoft goes direct to drive profits | CNET News.com "During the past two years, the Redmond, Wash.-based giant has increased the amount of software it sells through its Enterprise Agreement (EA) licensing program, under which the company sells applications directly to businesses.
That's a big switch from previous plans, under which Microsoft relied on a worldwide network of resellers to find customers and sell its software, ideally for profit. Resellers are always pulled into EA agreements, but to service deals largely consummated by Microsoft. Microsoft then pays them a commission out of fees paid to Microsoft by the customer.
"We now estimate that 30 (percent) to 35 percent of large customers have Microsoft Enterprise Agreements," said Alvin Park, an analyst at Gartner. That's up from 15 percent in the recent past."