March 22, 2011
Microsoft Cloud Accelerate PartnerWho are Microsoft’s top 10 cloud computing channel partners in the U.S. market? TalkinCloud has found the answer. It involves a Microsoft-generated list of channel partners promoting BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite), which includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and other Microsoft SaaS applications.
According to sources close to Microsoft, the company’s top 10 U.S. cloud channel partners, in terms of deployed BPOS customers, are:
Software House International, 70 customers. SHI is a well-known $3 billion provider of IT solutions.
Vorsite Corp., 70 customers. The company has bet its entire business on Microsoft-related cloud deployments for small, midsize and enterprise companies.
Dell, 65 customers. On a potentially related note, Dell has been mulling its own cloud computing partner program, according to TalkinCloud’s sister site, The VAR Guy.
The Deeper Story
The cloud partners list above surfaces as Microsoft attempts to reassure partners about its channel commitment even as cloud computing gains momentum. (For the record: I do believe Microsoft remains committed to the channel.) Microsoft has also taken heat from some partners who want to control end-customer cloud billing — a service Microsoft doesn’t permit, though Channel Chief Jon Roskill is listening closely to partner feedback.
Meanwhile, lingering questions remain. Chief among them:
The Top 10 list above represents BPOS customer deployments. Sources declined to declined to disclose how many end-users are actually represented within the deployments. However, sources said some deployments involve tens of thousands of customers.
Also, it’s unclear how many BPOS applications each customer is running, nor can we estimate how cross-selling efforts (between Exchange Online and SharePoint online, for instance) are performing.
Bottom line: Microsoft has taken its share of lumps from some VARs and MSPs who worry if the company is shifting away from the IT channel. But I truly believe Microsoft remains committed to the channel. Microsoft’s decision to closely monitor channel partner wins for BPOS and SaaS applications reinforces that point. On the one hand the numbers didn’t overly impress me. But on the other hand, sources say the figures include some Fortune 500 cloud wins for Microsoft’s channel partners.
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