Microsoft: We Want Hosting Providers To Make Cloud Moves

Another dispatch from the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC10): Microsoft is striving to help transform hosting providers and telecommunications providers into full-on IT service providers. The secret sauce, predictably, involves the cloud. But what are the implications for smaller MSPs and VARs? Here’s some perspective.

“Microsoft sees service providers becoming more important as the cloud becomes more predominant. Given their experience in deploying and selling infrastructure and software as a service, businesses will depend on them for IT as a service,” said John Zanni, general manager of Worldwide Hosting for the Communications Sector at Microsoft, in a prepared statement.

Key developments on that front, as per Microsoft’s press release, include: NetApp providing enterprise disaster recovery to SMBs by way of the Dynamic Data Center Alliance and a newly published whitepaper that indicates enterprises are half as likely to change hosted messaging and collaboration service providers as they are on-premise.

To prove their point, Microsoft’s using WPC10 to showcase their hosting partners who are syndicating Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS).

Microsoft’s shown a huge focus on how partners of all shapes and sizes can benefit from the cloud at WPC10, and this just continues that momentum.

Still, each Microsoft move also raises its share of questions. A prime example: Microsoft is allowing big service providers to receive key discounts if they wrap additional services around BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite). But some of those BPOS benefits are not available to smaller MSPs because the small players lack economies of scale.

Also of note: Several small MSPs with whom we've spoken are still calling on Microsoft to change its terms of service with small MSPs. In particular, the small MSPs want to manage billing and branding for BPOS, rather than handing that service off to Microsoft. So far, Microsoft seems unwilling to budge on that point.

Next up, we'll be watching to see if Microsoft makes more moves during HostingCon, which is slated to start July 19 in Austin, Texas.

Additional reporting by Joe Panettieri. Sign up for MSPmentor’s weekly Enewsletter, Webcasts and Resource Center. And follow us via RSS, Facebook,; and Twitter. Plus, check out more MSP voices at and our disclosures here.

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