New Opportunities for Partners

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2008-03-02 Print this article Print


In fact, Kelly argued, the move will actually create new opportunities for partners to resell, customize and provide consulting, migration and managed services, citing partners such as Getronics, HCL, Hewlett-Packard and Unisys, all of which have committed to supporting Microsoft's online services and to rolling out offerings based on these new services.

"We did a survey of more than 700 partners, and the data showed that they expect 70 percent of Microsoft Online sales to be to new customers. Some partners also expect to boost the number of Exchange seats they will be able to sell in the first year by as much as 85 percent, and believe their support costs will drop by as much as 40 percent as they help customers manage their environment online," he said.

Tim Woodcock, president of Courtesy Computers, is one such partner. He believes that his customers will continue to require support and setup services.

"I see a hosted Exchange solution as an opportunity for more revenue. Customers need to be mobile and their data needs to stay secure, and hosted solutions provide an affordable way for small businesses to get up and running and a great foot in the door for partners to support them," he said.

Microsoft will also open a limited beta trial of Exchange Online and SharePoint Online to customers of all sizes on March 3. U.S.-based companies can register for the trial here.

 "We expect that companies with dedicated IT staff will be first to embrace this technology. Users will be able to manage their services through a single Web-based interface, which allows IT professionals to monitor the performance of the services, add and configure users, submit and track support requests, and manage users and licenses," Kelly said.

A number of large enterprises have already committed to moving their communications and collaboration solutions to Microsoft Online Services, including Coca-Cola Enterprises, Autodesk, Blockbuster, Energizer Holdings and Ingersoll-Rand, he said.

The software giant will also introduce a USL (User Subscription License) for these online services, which can be bought as a per-user subscription, Kelly said, but he declined to say what the pricing model will be.

Those customers who already have Client Access Licenses and Software Assurance will get a credit for that and be able to buy a Step Up USL at a lower price than the standard USL, so as to help them maximize their existing Microsoft software investments, he said.

Customers who buy an online user subscription will get the rights to the experiences in the cloud (online services) as well as access to the experiences that they run inside their environment (on-premises), he said.

"We believe that many customers will be buying and deploying SharePoint servers within their environment to do very specific scenarios, such as deep customization and integration with their line of business applications," Kelly said. "But we also see them going to SharePoint online for their department-level portals and team sites, where they can take advantage of the rapid deployment we offer."

Microsoft's move will likely significantly boost the number of seats of hosted Microsoft Exchange, which currently stands at some 2 percent, or less than 2 million mailboxes, of the overall Exchange market.

"With this move, Microsoft will validate hosted services for smaller businesses, and is expected to drive hosted Exchange to between 10 and 20 percent of the market," Azaleos' McCall said.


Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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