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Dell Selling Microsoft Products Online

Dell has been trying to ingratiate itself to a skeptical channel for a couple of years now, but this might not be the best way to do it: the PC manufacturer has started selling Microsoft products for download online.

Sure, the deal makes sense for Microsoft, which is trying to get its basic stuff -- at this point, we're talking Office primarily -- into as many people's hands as possible as efficiently as possible. Dell has a huge Web-sales presence, after all (not that partners need to be reminded of that). And it makes sense that Dell, which is undercutting the prices at Microsoft's own online store by a pretty big chunk, would want to get its hands on some of the revenue that Microsoft's software staples can generate.

Of course, most partners aren't making their living off of selling Office, anyway, and those who are had better find a way to diversify their revenue streams immediately. Furthermore, there might very well be opportunities for some channel players -- big distributors, for instance -- to also sell Office online at some point. So, Dell selling Office online really isn't a big deal for Microsoft partners.

Still, it's a gesture on both companies' parts that isn't exactly warm toward the channel, which is still, after all, Microsoft's sales force. With both companies wanting to keep partners happy, they might have some explaining -- or, at least, some hand-holding -- to do in the near future. Dell, in particular, is going to have to do some creative spinning if it wants to continue to cuddle up to partners, many of whom still feel betrayed by the one-time direct-sales champion. But that's why those marketing and PR people make the big bucks, we suppose.

What's your take on Dell selling Office online? Send it to lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on June 16, 2009 at 11:55 AM


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