Intermedia Counters Office 365 and Google Apps Partner Programs
On the one hand, Intermedia is a close Microsoft partner that offers hosted Exchange to customers. But on the other hand, Intermedia is determined to compete with Microsoft’s Office 365 and the Google Apps cloud partner programs. The latest evidence: Intermedia has launched a comparison chart that positions Intermedia’s cloud partner program heads-up against Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps.
No surprise, Intermedia believes its private label cloud partner program offers branding, pricing and support advantages over Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365. And for those who have been watching Intermedia closely, you’ve seen how the company has been helping VARs and MSPs to compete against Microsoft and Google in the cloud.
Intermedia certainly has an interesting business model. The company claims to be the largest third-party provider of hosted Exchange. And Intermedia was the first major provider of hosted Exchange 2010 — beating even Microsoft to that distinction.
But Intermedia also has to deal with multiple market challenges — including potential pricing advantages over at Microsoft and Google. To compensate, Intermedia allows partners to brand hosted Exchange as their own, while also allowing partners to manage customer billing. Microsoft does not offer those features to smaller partners, and Google only offers the billing piece to partners.
Moreover, Intermedia has gradually introduced new services to its channel partners, including encryption, cloud storage and hosted PBX services.
Still, it won’t be an easy battle for Intermedia. Google has publicly stated that more than 1000 channel partners have signed up to promote Google Apps. Plus, Microsoft and many of its channel partners will begin migrations from BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) to Office 365 in September.