More than 2,500 resellers and integrators have signed a petition opposing Microsoft’s intention to remove free software licences granted to members of the channel to run their business.The changes are described here:Effective July 1, 2020, we will retire the internal use rights (IUR) association with the product licenses partners receive in the Microsoft Action Pack and included with a competency. Product license use rights will be updated to be used for business development scenarios such as demonstration purposes, solution/services development purposes, and internal training.Beginning October 1, 2019, the product licenses included with competencies will be specific to the competency you attain. Please review the benefits you will receive with your competency in Partner Center at time of purchase. Additional licenses can be purchased through commercial licensing to run your business.There are a huge number of partners resellers, most of them small businesses, who recommend, resell and support customers running Microsoft wares or services. In 2017, Microsoft said that “our partners employ more than 17 million people around the world”.The barriers to entry are low and companies who sign up can qualify for a range of competencies, starting with an “Action Pack” subscription that comes with a wide range of benefits, such as five Office 365 seats, five Dynamics 365 licences, 2-core SQL Server, ten Windows 10 Enterprise packages, $100 per month Azure credit and so on. The Action Pack costs around £350 per year but represents excellent value if you would otherwise have to purchase the licences. The same is true of the higher levels, Silver and Gold competencies, which command a higher fee but provide a wider range of benefits.Resellers are not allowed to resell these specific licences, but critically, they do allow use for “internal business purposes”. Smaller Microsoft channel firms have been able to operate their businesses, in large part, using these subsidised licences.That offer is now ending. “We will retire product licenses for internal use purposes on July 1 2020,” stated the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) guide.There are more changes too, and none of them good for partners. Free support incidents are being withdrawn. “Starting August 2019, on-premise Product Support incidents will no longer be available for Action Pack and competencies,” warned Microsoft.In addition, the matching of cloud benefits to specific competencies means reduced benefits. Dynamics 365 seats, for example, will now only be available to partners with the Cloud Business Applications Competency, instead of being doled out to all.