Microsoft to Compete With Managed Service Providers In October

Microsoft to Compete With Managed Service Providers In October

Microsoft BPOS Software as a ServiceD-day is nearly here. Microsoft is expected to launch a range of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications -- known as the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) -- in October. The BPOS offering could wind up competing head-on against some managed service providers. Here's why.

The BPOS suite will include Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Office Live Meeting conferencing, Microsoft Office Communications Online and Microsoft Online Administration Center, reports All About Microsoft.

The Google Factor

This is a tricky time for Microsoft and the company's channel partners. Although Microsoft has been fiercely loyal to VARs and solutions providers for more than two decades, the software giant must now deal with the realities of cloud computing and SaaS -- where successful vendors from Google to Salesforce.com often deal directly with customers.

MSP industry leaders have mixed feelings about Microsoft's strategy. "Microsoft is in a bad situation," notes ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini. "Google is forcing their hand. I think they [Microsoft] are still trying to respect the channel but are also trying to fend off Google. I have them on my watch list [for competition], but think they will end up being a big ally of the IT Solution provider channel."

Marching Forward

Instead of watching Microsoft's strategy unfold, many MSPs are expanding their own hosted Microsoft solutions. At the MSPAlliance's Managed Services Summit in Chicago, Intermedia announced a SaaS partner program. The program for MSPs focused on such hosted applications as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SharePoint, Exchange Server and Office Communications Server 2007.

Also at the Managed Services Summit, the MSPAlliance and Microsoft announced a relationship that allows the MSPAlliance Accreditation test to recognize Microsoft certified professionals, and vice versa. (Here's the official release from MSPAlliance.)

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