Microsoft 'Live' Doesn't Scare PartnersBy John Hazard | Print
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Microsoft made a splash with its announcement of Windows Live and Office Live Qeb-based services, but the offerings are perceived as a probable enhancement for the channel.
Microsoft Corp. made a splash Tuesday with its formal announcement of Windows Live and Office Live Web-based service offerings.
But the offerings are unlikely to upset any channel carts, said analysts and partners.
"Microsoft doesn't go after the same business as its partners and they're not doing that here," said Jonathan Smith, chief executive officer of CCD Corp. in Denver, Colo., which provides its clients with a full utility computing solution through a Web portal.
"This is aimed at a real small market, the mom and pop shops, that almost use whatever's free. They're trying to compete with Yahoo and Google, not partners."
Web services will be an enhancement and not a replacement for Microsoft's desktop line, said Joe Wilcox, a Microsoft analyst at Jupiter Research of Jupitermedia Corp., a financial data firm.
"This is about driving upgrades to Microsoft's core, not replacing," Wilcox said. "Contrary to popular belief, Microsoft is not getting into hosted everything. Microsoft still makes its money selling software on the desktop and they're not going to jeopardize that. They will deal with the problem of Web 2.0 with what's available through the Web, but your better service is still going to be the client."
One example of what Microsoft's Web services will be like is the common Outlook Web portal many users are used to, Wilcox said. "It's great and it's easy to use but it's a level of experience you're not going to get on your desktop."
Microsoft is largely exploring a market too small to need much service from a Microsoft partner, said Keith McCall, chief technology officer at Azaleos Corp. in Redmond, Wash., an e-mail managed services provider.
Azaleos is heartened by Microsoft's Web services direction, he said.
"It pretty much validates what we've been doing for a while now, the idea that software is a service," McCall said. "You're not going to just buy software anymore. You will buy an application, and wherever it lives it will be a living, changing thing, managed and monitored and updated."
The applications of Windows Live and Office Live are largely available already, he added.
"What's new here is really what's old," he said. "If you look at Windows Live, things that have been announced have been in testing in MSN already. And the Office Live list of services eventually coming is what they already offer through Small Business Center. Over time that will change and more will be added, but for now, it's mostly available already."