Microsoft Partner Initiatives, Pricing Take Shape

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Print this article Print

Partners get a look at what Microsoft has in store in an on-demand world, particularly the value of software plus services.

HOUSTON - Microsoft started its Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2008 with a series of announcements including a new pricing and partner model for Microsoft Online Services, as well as other announcements around the company's effort to focus on a software-plus-services strategy.

Indeed, during the opening keynote address, Stephen Elop, president of the Microsoft Business Division, announced the pricing and partner model for two new suites of subscription services as part of the Microsoft Online Services family, which delivers software as a subscription service managed from a Microsoft data center and sold by partners. With Microsoft Online Services, customers have the option to access messaging, collaboration and communications software over the Internet. These services will be sold as a suite or as stand-alone products with prices starting as low as $3 per month, the company said.

"Our vision is that everything you can do with our onsite servers, you will be able to do with our online services," Elop said. "For partners, it’s about the differentiated value they can deliver on top of our services, as well as providing them with an ongoing revenue stream. There is incredible partner opportunity at every level--integration, migration, customization, consulting services and managed services."

Under the new business model, partners selling the two suites will receive 12 percent of the first-year contract value with a recurring revenue stream of 6 percent of the subscription fee every year for the life of the customer contract, Elop said. Moreover, to help partners get the guidance for discovery, enrollment and activation of the two suites, a new program was announced called Quickstart for Microsoft Online Services.

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Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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