Office 365 Cloud Sales: Microsoft Channel Chief Thanks Partners
Office 365, as reported, now has a $1 billion annual revenue run rate. Now comes word that Windows Azure is a $1 billion cloud business right now. What's the reaction from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Channel Chief Jon Roskill? The answer is rather straightforward.
“We have been talking for some time about the scale we are starting to achieve with our Cloud Partner Ecosystem and the $1B Office 365 announcement clearly shows both the traction and the momentum Microsoft and its partners are landing," said Roskill in an email to The VAR Guy. "And while this is an amazing number for most businesses there is still a much larger future ahead as we are just getting started so I encourage all Partners to join us helping take our joint customers to the Cloud.”
Looking Back and Ahead
Microsoft's journey to cloud computing has involved quite a few bumps, especially in the partner ecosystem. Office 365, launched in June/July 2011, has been largely successful and gaining momentum each quarter. Roskill's team promoted the Cloud Essentials and Cloud Accelerate partner engagement programs to get the channel thinking about Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online.
By March 2012, Roskill was itching to publicly disclose Microsoft's cloud revenues. Although he didn't share firm numbers, Roskill at the time suggested that Microsoft already was the world's largest supplier of cloud software. In addition to Microsoft's own public clouds, Roskill noted that cloud services providers (CSPs) were hosting Exchange and other key Microsoft apps for end-customers.
By July 2012, Microsoft also promised to adjust the Office 365 business model so that partners could manage end-customer pricing and billing. That effort, called Office 365 Open, became a reality in early 2013. Office 365 Open still has some shortcomings (for one, it requires full-year commitments from customers with up-front billing, The VAR Guy believes). But you can't deny Microsoft's overall cloud computing progress.
So what's next for Roskill and the cloud strategy? June 2013 marks his 20th anniversary with Microsoft. And by July 2013, Roskill will be on stage at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2013. No doubt, channel partners should expect more Office 365 and Windows Azure milestones at that time.
A next logical step: It's time for Microsoft to disclose what percentage of cloud revenues come from partners. At least that's what The VAR Guy would like to hear…