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Steve Ballmer: Chief Executive Therapist

On Tuesday, Microsoft laid out a partner compensation model for Software Plus Services. From the minute it was announced, the company has been eagerly attempting to reassure partners that not only will S+S not mean a business disaster for them or direct competition with Microsoft, but in fact will represent an opportunity.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took up the theme of partner reassurance in his keynote speech on Wednesday. "Even as we're driving that business model forward to new approaches, we see it as fundamentally critical that our partners are in it with us and involved with us," Ballmer said.

"This world of S+S is not a world for our partners that should be scary or problematic. If you know Exchange, you know Exchange. Those skills will translate into the world of Software Plus Services," he added. "Same thing with Dynamics, SQL Server, directory."

He also assured partners that they have a little time. "This isn't going to happen overnight in the enterprise world. It's not like our customers are going to wake up tomorrow morning and say, 'Hey, look, we all want to abandon server implementations and move to the cloud.'"

Instead, Ballmer said, there will be a mix of server implementations and cloud computing going forward. "The consumer market might race to be cloud-based. The enterprise world is going to be a mix for awhile," he said.

But he used an example to illustrate that the way some partners do business will have to change. "Even as the business model changes, for us, the notion of partnering with all of you remains fundamental. We build from the present. I'm not going to tell you the world of the future looks the same as the world of today," Ballmer said. "Fifteen years ago, there were partners who made their living integrating the TCP/IP stack into Windows. But, we'll build from the present. We'll bring along your capabilities [and] your skills...United all of us stand, divided we fall."

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 09, 2008


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