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December 21, 2011
Microsoft spends a lot of time and ad dollars promoting the Office 365 cloud suite to small-business customers. And now, thanks to a strategic alliance with MasterCard, those small-business customers can use MasterCard’s Easy Savings program to receive a 10 percent cut to the subscription price.
There’s an official blog entry with details, but that’s pretty much the long and short of it. The Easy Savings program was already designed to offer small-business credit and debit cardholders the ability to save automatically on mission-critical products such as office supplies and fuel from participating vendors.
So here are my two big cloud channel-specific questions around this promotion:
Wouldn’t this incent SMB customers to buy and manage their own Office 365 subscriptions and services, rather than procure the services of a Microsoft partner?
This price break brings the $6 per user per month small-business Office 365 price plan down to $5.40 — a little closer to the Google Apps commitment-free $5 per user per month scheme. Was that intentional or just a nice side benefit?
Obviously, neither question is going to be one Microsoft is keen on answering. But I’m curious to hear your perspectives in the comments below.
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