Microsoft Office Web: Hosting Providers Keep Watch
Bloggers are buzzing about Microsoft Office Web — the forthcoming SaaS alternative to Office 2010. But software as a service experts and hosting providers say their customers have yet to ask about Office Web and its anticipated capabilities. Here’s the scoop.
As you may recall, Office Web — slated to be available sometime in 2010 — is Microsoft’s response to Google Docs and Zoho productivity applications.
Microsoft will host Office Web for customers. Plus, certain license agreements will allow customers to host Office Web on premise as well. So far, Microsoft hasn’t announced any plans to allow VARs and managed services providers (MSPs) to host Office Web on their own.
The VAR Guy checked in with several hosting providers and Microsoft channel partners to see if their customers are inquiring about Office Web yet.
At Intermedia, one of the largest Microsoft Exchange hosting providers working with VARs, the company has received “little to no interest from our customer base on Office Web,” says Robert E. Leibholz, VP of sales and business development. “I think our customers (generally higher-end information workers or mobile enabled workers) generally have access to MS Office on their machines, and therefore would less likely need Office Web.”
Leibholz adds: “Are we interested? Sure, we’re always evaluating the market, our current and future customer base; and new products/delivery methods.”
Still, Intermedia has other pressing priorities — such as introducing hosted Exchange 2010 to its VAR and reseller channel.
Meanwhile, The VAR Guy suspects mind share for Office Web will increase dramatically in early 2010, when Microsoft begins cranking up its marketing machine. No doubt, Microsoft continues to polish Windows 7, Office 2010 and Office Web. First up is the Windows 7 launch, expected October 22, with Office 2010 and Office Web expected to debut next year. The VAR Guy will be watching.