Microsoft Cloud Partner Ecosystem: 10X Larger Than Google's?

November 30, 2011

3 Min Read
Microsoft Cloud Partner Ecosystem: 10X Larger Than Google's?

By samdizzy

office 365 vs google apps

When Microsoft announced some new Office 365 milestones earlier today, Talkin’ Cloud went looking for the channel partner angles and sent Microsoft some follow-up questions. In return, Microsoft delivered some timely replies… plus a direct shot at Google’s cloud partner efforts — though I think it’s important to carefully analyze Microsoft’s cloud claims before drawing any firm conclusions.

Talkin’ Cloud posed three follow-up questions to Microsoft, and a spokeswoman for the software giant replied with these perspectives…

Talkin’ Cloud: Microsoft announced Office 365 wins with Campbell Soup and Group Marie Claire. Were channel partners involved?

Microsoft: Partners were not involved with the Campbell Soup Company and Groupe Marie Claire Partners deals. However, partners are an integral part of many Office 365 customer deals and are involved in different parts of the lifecycle.

Talkin’ Cloud: Any update on the number of service providers that have been approved to syndicate Office 365?

Microsoft: In the last 12 months, our partner ecosystem has more than doubled in size – from 16,000 to more than 42,000 partners worldwide. This partner ecosystem is roughly 10 times more partners than Google. These partners range from systems integrators and service providers to value added resellers and ISVs.  They deliver services, training, consulting, support and applications that help customers get the most from Office 365.

Talkin’ Cloud: Do you have any updates about how Office 365 apps perform for users of Google Android and Apple iOS mobile devices?

Microsoft: Office 365 allows customers to work from almost anywhere and get automatically updated email, calendar, and contacts on the devices they use most, including PCs, Macintosh computers, iPhone, Android phones, Blackberry smartphones, Windows Mobile, and Windows Phones. Office will continue to evolve and integrate productivity experiences in new ways and on new devices.

Office 365 Partner Program: A Closer Look

No doubt, Microsoft has significantly grown its cloud partner base since launching Office 365 in June 2011. But keep a close eye on Microsoft’s math. A few observations from Talkin’ Cloud:

1. Let’s assume Microsoft does have 42,000 cloud partners worldwide. That’s impressive. But how of those partners are actually Office 365 syndicators? Microsoft really didn’t answer my question on that point.

Also, how many of those 42,000 partners are really active with Office 365? I’d define active as a partner that has at least 10 Office 35 customers and/or at least 100 customer seats on Office 365 (Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, etc.). Just a hunch, but I bet fewer than 50 percent of Microsoft’s cloud partners meet that criteria.

2. Let’s assume Microsoft’s cloud partner base really is 10 times larger than the Google Apps channel partner base. I didn’t double-check with Google but I think Microsoft is roughly accurate. If true, is Microsoft’s 10X partner base really a good thing for Microsoft partners? Surely, some partners would prefer to compete against fewer channel rivals…

Bottom line: It sounds like Office 365 has made some significant partner advances and technical advances in recent months. But until Microsoft starts discussing cloud-related revenues during earnings calls, it will be difficult to truly pinpoint Office 365’s business progress.

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