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On March 3 at the SharePoint Conference in Seattle, Bill Gates announced that Microsoft will offer Microsoft Online Services to businesses of all sizes. Microsoft Online Services include Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Live Meeting, and Exchange Hosted Filtering.  These are enterprise-class software delivered as a subscription service, hosted by Microsoft and sold with partners.

For more information about the announcement, click through to the Press Pass article on the Microsoft site: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/mar08/03-02AllSizeBusinessesPR.mspx

For more information on Microsoft Online Services, visit: http://www.microsoft.com/online. You can also start following the team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/msonline/.

- Paul Englis

4 Comments
Not applicable
I know there are going to be A LOT of people unhappy with this.  Since when does Microsoft compete with its own partners like this.  Lets hope they keep it small scale.  We dont need judge jury and executioner all in one company.
Not applicable
It is hard to comprehend how they think it's a good idea to offer hosted services themselves.

The commitment and effort of hosting partners out there to deliver their services is huge.

Hopefully clients will not want to go directly with Microsoft...no offence MS, but please don't undercut your strongest supporters.

Anthony
Not applicable
What are these people at MS thinking when at the first place they encouraged prospective clients to go get these services from MS Partners and ended up they themselves offering the same services! Can someone at MS with Magna Cum Laude degree explain this to me?
Not applicable
At first blush, it probably appears as though Microsoft is ready to "eat its young" with the announcement of Exchange Online and SharePoint Online. But really, there is a tremendous opportunity for partners with the availability of this service, and partners

are a big part of Microsoft Online Services.

                                                 

Some thoughts to consider:


• Microsoft entering the market for hosted Exchange and SharePoint legitimizes hosting of these great server technologies in ways that never happened before. Microsoft is putting its full weight behind the idea of hosted messaging and collaboration solutions,

and this helps hosting partners.


• Customer choice is the real winner. Organizations have the option of running their messaging and collaboration servers in their own environment, having a hosting partner run this software, or outsourcing this task to Microsoft. Customer choice is at the core

of Microsoft’s software + services strategy.


• Contrary to the idea that Microsoft is pushing partners aside, partners are at the center of Microsoft Online Services and our go-to-market strategy. Exchange Online and SharePoint Online will be sold through partners, and there are revenue opportunities

for those partners that build consulting practices around migrating data to Exchange Online, helping organizations run their messaging system in an on-premise Exchange Server and Exchange Online in a co-existence model, and providing customization work for

SharePoint Online. Partners are integral to the success of Microsoft Online Services.



For an example of this, see the video on the Microsoft Partner Web site highlighting Evolve, a Microsoft Gold Partner, that is building a practice around selling and supporting Microsoft Online Services:

https://partner.microsoft.com/global/productssolutions/40054806


• The market for hosting partners who offer hosted Exchange and SharePoint will continue to thrive. Hosting partners can provide services and features that Microsoft is not in the position to provide as part of Microsoft Online Services, such as Blackberry

support or special features for a vertical industry. There will also be a market for hosting partners that bundle additional services with their hosted messaging and collaboration offering.



CBeyond is an example of a hosting partner that is integrating mobile access with their hosted Exchange offering:

http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=206501441&subSection=News