Microsoft, N-able Partner on Managed Services

Microsoft. It's one of the few companies that could potentially change the managed services competitive landscape overnight.

For months, pundits -- including MSPmentor -- have wondered if the software giant would start to buy up MSP platform providers. But for now, Microsoft continues to partner in the MSP space. The company's latest move involves an expanded relationship with N-able.

Under terms of a marketing and technology relationship announced today, Microsoft partners will be able to integrate N-able's managed services platform with the Microsoft's System Center Essentials 2007.

System Center is a set of systems management products and technologies designed for businesses with up to 500 PCs and 30 servers.

N-able is an established Microsoft Gold Partner, so System Center integration is "a natural for us," says N-able CEO Gavin Garbutt. "The whole idea is to give customers a single dashboard that allows engineers to manage more and more devices."

Watching Microsoft's Wallet

As the manged services industry continues to grow, and Microsoft continues to shift its resources to software as a service (SaaS), many MSP industry pundits have wondered if -- or when -- Microsoft would begin buying up MSP platform providers.

Sources say Microsoft continues to closely watch big established rivals closely -- particularly Symantec and its new Symantec Protection Network (SPN). Initially, SPN supports managed storage, but the platform is expected to offer managed security services later this year.

As one of the tech industry's most channel-focused companies, Microsoft's growing interest in the MSP space is a natural. "For now, the message from Microsoft seems to be 'let's partner," says the CEO of a managed security platform provider. "But you have to wonder when the other shoe is going to drop, and when Microsoft will buy some of these MSP companies."

But in the meantime, Microsoft continues to work far more closely with N-able and other platform providers.

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