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Survey: More Microsoft Partners Selling Azure, Fewer Selling Windows

More Microsoft partners are including Azure in solutions they sell to customers while fewer partners are selling the Windows client than they did a year ago, according to a new survey of RCP readers.

The shifts align with Microsoft's changing emphasis from a PC operating system-centric business to a cloud services company.

Azure has been surging as a cloud platform over the last year, running a fast second behind the market leader Amazon Web Services (AWS), according to market researchers. Microsoft has released new Azure services on a near-weekly basis, and also moved to expand the ways partners can offer Azure.

On the other hand, the last year has been an unprecedented trough for desktop Windows as a partner opportunity. An ongoing, historic decline in PC sales, the new free upgrade options to Windows 10 for consumer and low-end business versions, and the usual corporate upgrade delay following a new release appear to be taking a toll on partners' sales of the client OS in their solutions.

To be clear, far more partners are selling Windows than Azure. About 300 partner readers responded to the question, "What Microsoft products do you commonly include in customer solutions?" in RCP's 2014 and 2015 surveys.

Azure climbed 10 percentage points, from 29 percent in 2014 to 39 percent in 2015. The Windows client dropped 8 percentage points, from 64 percent in 2014 to 56 percent in 2015.

The most popular products for Microsoft partners to sell this year were Windows Server (68 percent), the Office suite (65 percent), SQL Server (59 percent), the Windows client and Office 365 (56 percent each).

Included for the first time in the survey was the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) -- a bundle of Azure Active Directory Premium, Intune and Azure Rights Management -- which Microsoft has touted as its next $1 billion product. While it became available as part of Enterprise Agreements in 2014, it wasn't until the second calendar quarter of 2015 that it hit Open Licensing and later in the year the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) subscription model. About 12 percent of survey respondents said they were including EMS in customer solutions.

Posted by Scott Bekker on December 09, 2015 at 9:00 AM


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