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Microsoft Takes Online Services Worldwide

Microsoft on Monday went global with the two Software plus Services (S+S) offerings the company unveiled at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in July 2008

The offerings are the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) and the Business Productivity Online Deskless Worker Suite (BPODWS).

The company used the CeBIT 2009 conference in Hanover, Germany to announce a worldwide trial of the BPOS in 19 countries. The suite will be available for purchase in April, along with Office Communications Online for instant messaging and presence.

The BPODWS will be available for trial and purchase in the same 19 countries in April.

The 19 countries are Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

"These services open up new possibilities for businesses to control costs while continuing to enhance the productivity of their employees," said Stephen Elop, president of the Microsoft Business Division, in a statement. Elop said deploying such Microsoft Online Services can lower customer IT expenditures by 10 to 50 percent.

Microsoft says there will be opportunities for partners to sell the suites, as well as customize, consult on, migrate and manage services for the suites. In July, Microsoft laid out an agent-style partnering model around the BPOS and BPODWS. Partners who sold the services for Microsoft would get 12 percent of the first year's subscription fee for the sale and an additional 6 percent at the beginning of each year that the customer renews.

Some partners say they appreciate the opportunity to get some revenues from the low-end S+S offering and the chance to reach out to customers who might not otherwise spend much on IT. Others express concern that Microsoft owns the customer billing relationship and the up-selling and cross-selling opportunity.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.