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Will Markezich Play Bad Cop Role for Microsoft Partners?

Former Microsoft Online executive Ron Markezich may need some sensitivity training for his new role as a senior executive facing Microsoft's U.S. partners. Or maybe someone at Microsoft appointed him to the role of bad cop to enterprise partners.

Markezich was named corporate vice president of the U.S. Enterprise and Partner Group at Microsoft on Monday, according to his executive bio. The same day, identified in that role, he gave an interview to AllThingsD about the beta launch of Office 365 (the top 12 features of which we've spotlighted in this Web feature).

Markezich said, "If you look at the total industry spend, most of it is on activities where there's no value added. Every dollar you spend on software from Microsoft, you spend $6 trying to get it to do anything. What we're trying to do is drive that six dollars to zero."

In another context, that $6 could be thought of as...the channel. The idea of getting the software to "do anything" could potentially also be referred to as being customized for a customer environment, integrated with line of business applications, managed and secured.

For example, last month, Microsoft touted its semi-regular collaboration with market researchers at IDC to quantify the size of the Microsoft partner ecosystem. IDC estimated that the average partner ecosystem revenues for each $1 of Microsoft revenues was $8.70 in 2009. Broken out by partner type, product-oriented partners made $4.09, value-added partners made $2.30, logistics-oriented partners made $2.70 and retail logistics partners made $2.93.

To be sure, Markezich may be talking about something else when he talks about that $6. His role combines enterprise customer and partner audiences, and his experience includes a stint as Microsoft CIO. He may have been referring to internal IT costs in large organizations that don't add the value that partners add.

Still, there's no question that Microsoft's cloud push would take a bigger chunk of overall IT spending, with ramifications for that $580 billion worldwide partner ecosystem that IDC defined. In his previous role, Markezich served as a driver for that, and it was Markezich who described at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference last year what partners would  need to do to be involved. We'll be sure to ask Markezich what that $6 refers to and how he views the channel's role in Microsoft's online services future as soon as we get a chance.

Posted by Scott Bekker on April 22, 2011