Dozens of media folks are converging on Manhattan today for Microsoft's Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 launches. But I have to concede: I've got writers block as I try to blog about the Office 2010 launch. No doubt, millions of customers continue to see value in Office. But I wonder: Are MSPs focusing at all on the Office 2010 launch? Or have they turned their attention to Microsoft's other big launch: SharePoint 2010?
In some ways, I think many critics underestimate the power of Microsoft's partner program. After all, thousands of VARs and resellers will gather at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) this July in Washington, D.C. And plenty of systems builders are gearing up to offer Office 2010 on their hardware.
But let's get back to my core question: Do MSPs -- which represent about one-tenth of the North American channel, according to my best guess -- care about Microsoft's new office suite? I think the answer varies dramatically.
No doubt, quite a few MSPs are developing Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (DVI) strategies that involve Office 2010 running on centralized servers. And I suspect Office 2010 will be part of HaaS (hardware as a service) agreements that some MSPs are developing for their end-customers.
Also of Note...Still, I suspect most MSPs didn't know today was Office 2010's official launch day. That fact alone shows you just how much the IT world has changed in recent years.
For most MSPs, I suspect SharePoint 2010's launch (also today) is far more intriguing. Microsoft now generates more than $1 billion annually from SharePoint. And it seems like most of the major hosting providers -- and many MSP peer groups -- promote SharePoint to their customers or leverage SharePoint internally.
In some ways, hosted SharePoint is becoming a commodity. But if you check out the Microsoft WPC, you'll notice dozens of ISVs and partners promoting SharePoint add-ons and custom applications. End-customers continue to pay a premium for such add-ons. And in many cases, the payments arrive monthly as part of a recurring revenue agreement.
Of course, not all MSPs have custom software development expertise. Which brings me back to my original point: Are MSPs paying attention to Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010? Should they?
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