REDMOND, Wash., March 2 /-/ -- Monday from the annual Microsoft Office SharePoint Conference, Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corp., will announce that the company will offer Microsoft Online Services to businesses of all sizes. This announcement marks a significant step for Microsoft toward expanding its software plus services strategy.
"The combination of software plus services gives customers advanced choice and flexibility in how they access and manage software," Gates said. "With Microsoft Online Services, businesses can deploy software as a subscription service, from servers they manage on-site, or a combination of the two, depending on their specific needs. In the future, customers and partners should expect to see this kind of choice and flexibility for all of Microsoft's software and server products."
Today Microsoft also opened a limited beta trial of the new services; U.S.-based companies can register for the trial at http://www.mosbeta.com. The new services are scheduled to be generally available to businesses of all sizes in the second half of the year.
Based on the proven, business-class software available in Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, the new services enable businesses to access e-mail, calendaring, contacts, shared workspaces, and webconferencing and videoconferencing over the Web. The new services are managed through a single Web-based interface, designed to meet the needs of IT professionals. Through this security-enhanced interface, IT professionals can monitor the performance of the services, add and configure users, submit and track support requests, and manage users and licenses.
In September (http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2007/sep07/09- 30RoadmapForBusinessPR.mspx), Microsoft announced the worldwide availability of Microsoft Online Services for businesses with more than 5,000 users. Today's announcement extends the same performance, scalability, security and service level capabilities to all businesses.
Autodesk Inc., Blockbuster Inc., Ceridian Corp., Coca-Cola Enterprises, Energizer Holdings Inc., Ingersoll-Rand Company Ltd., PFT-Medway and XL Capital group of companies are among the first companies moving their communications and collaborations solutions to Microsoft Online Services.
"To become the best beverage sales and customer service company, we must drive efficiency and effectiveness throughout our company while significantly increasing opportunities for collaboration among employees, customers and suppliers," said John Brock, president and chief executive officer, Coca-Cola Enterprises. "By working with a world-class leader like Microsoft to leverage the power of software plus services, we can continue to drive innovation throughout our organization and more effectively address the complexities of today's global business environment."
Flexible Licensing Model
To help companies take advantage of Microsoft Online Services, Microsoft introduced a new licensing model with flexible options for customers.
New customers and customers without Microsoft Software Assurance can purchase Microsoft Online Services as a per-user subscription. Existing customers with Software Assurance on their Microsoft Client Access Licenses can purchase a user subscription at a discount, enabling them to maximize their existing Microsoft software investments. Customers with a subscription have rights to both Microsoft Online Services and to access on-premises server software, giving them the ability to blend Web-based services with on-premises software.
Microsoft will offer Exchange Online and SharePoint Online together with Office Communications Online and Office Live Meeting as a suite of services or as individual service offerings.
Expanding Partner Opportunities
Microsoft Online Services create new opportunities for partners to resell, customize and provide consulting, migration and managed services for customers. Atos Origin S.A., BT, Ceryx Inc., Evolve Partners Inc., Getronics NV, HCL Technologies Ltd. and Unisys Corp. are among the first partners to announce they will support Microsoft Online Services and provide offerings based on the new services.
"Microsoft Online Services provide partners with opportunities to expand reach, grow revenue and increase speed to sales and implementation," said Chris Capossela, senior vice president of the Information Worker Product Management Group at Microsoft. "By extending our enterprise software offerings as a subscription service, our partners have the ability to develop and deliver new services with little overhead but maximum revenue potential."
More information on Microsoft Online Services can be found at the following resources:
-- Microsoft Online Services home page:
-- Partner PressPass feature:
-- TechNet Edge video:
-- Partner reaction: below, following conclusion of press release
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Microsoft Online Services Opens the Door to Partner Opportunity and
Atos Origin SA
"Atos Origin sees an increasing demand for delivering services in an easier and simpler way, and we have already started to deliver services over the cloud. Innovation through collaboration is one of Atos Origin's key values and our strong, and long-standing alliance with Microsoft allows us to enrich our portfolio of services to better serve our customers and offer them innovative, flexible and compliant solutions for today's and future market demands," said Francis Delacourt, CEO, Global Managed Operations, Atos Origin.
"BT is delivering on the promise of Unified Communications today. We believe that this launch will complement BT's existing portfolio of UC solutions and will enable us to integrate Microsoft Online Services with BT's own voice and Web services for a more complete communications solution," said Clive Ansell, president, Strategy, Marketing & Propositions, BT Global Services.
Courtesy Computers Inc.
"Because our customers will continue to require support and setup services, we see a hosted Exchange solution as an opportunity for additional revenue. ... We know where the market is headed; customers need to be mobile and their data needs to stay as secure as possible. ... Hosted solutions provide an affordable way for small businesses to get up and running, and a great foot in the door for partners to support them," said Tim Woodcock, president and CEO, Courtesy Computers.
Evolve Partners Inc.
"We've seen a revenue improvement in both line-of-business and legacy applications, as we are able to focus more on core customer initiatives. ... Customers want to take their attention away from these traditional systems that aren't a part of their core, revenue-generating focus. Exchange Online allows them to focus on their business application priorities ... . Over time, Software as a Service-led engagements yield two times more partner revenue than traditional consulting-led engagements," said Tim Acker, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Evolve Partners.
"The Microsoft Online Services offering is a clear extension of Getronics' focus on delivering rationalized Information and Communications Technology workspace services for our clients, through our Microsoft-centric Future-Ready Workspace. We're proud to work with Microsoft to plan and deploy these applications and to bring our joint customers end-to-end solutions that can really drive business forward. This combination helps us accelerate our response to client requirements as well as streamline solution deployments, enabling our enterprise clients to derive significant value," said Coen Olde Olthof, vice president, Marketing, Portfolio and Alliances, Getronics.
HCL Technologies Ltd.
"This partnership with Microsoft Online Services underscores HCL's demonstrated leadership and investment in Software + Services and productized integrated services that focus on standardizing environments through reference-based architectures. The time-tested industry standard processes and technology frameworks not only provide customers the choice and flexibility for how they access and manage technology, but also enable them to limit their investment and control risks. This flexibility allows businesses to convert variable or unknown cost IT models to predictable or fixed IT cost models, while meeting security, compliance and scalability requirements -- whether it's accessed in the cloud, entirely on premise or anywhere in between," said Shami Khorana, president, HCL Americas.
"Microsoft Online Services provides an opportunity for HP and Microsoft to expand our long history of collaboration in the market to provide innovative solutions to our customers seeking flexibility in accessing and managing software. HP is in a unique position to provide an end-to-end portfolio of products and solutions to help customers fully realize the business benefits of Microsoft Online Services, including a robust hardware platform to deliver software plus services, HP Consulting and Integration Transformational Services, and a supporting portfolio of HP Outsourcing Services," said Joe Kovach, vice president, Consulting and Integration, HP Services.
"Our clients see the Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint brand names as industry leading, and its entry into this market gives us tremendous opportunity to grow our business," said Serguei Sofinski, CEO, Intermedia.
"The addition of the Microsoft brand is a good sign in a new market and will add confidence to organizations considering hosting options," said Ian Gotts, chief executive officer, Nimbus.
NW Computer Support
"Exchange Online and SharePoint Online offer a solid, uncompromising value proposition for a wide variety of clients. ... Microsoft is a brand name our clients recognize as industry leading. Having the flexibility to offer our customers an on-premise or a hosted solution ensures we're providing them with the right choice, not the only option ... . Within five years, the market will see a major switch from on-premise to hosted solutions. The emphasis businesses are placing on productivity gains, cost reduction and operational efficiencies will fuel the adoption of SaaS and bring it mainstream," said Tom Rash, president, Northwest Computer Support.
"The lower startup cost of hosting can compete with free or inexpensive alternatives, giving companies with limited budgets additional options. The addition of the Microsoft brand in the hosted market adds an extra level of reliability and peace of mind to our customers," said Bradley Bogle, director of Marketing, Susquehanna Technologies.
"Unisys bolsters its commitment to meeting our clients' emerging need for utility-based services with our teaming agreement with Microsoft Online Services to deliver hosted messaging and collaboration services. Unisys will provide these new software plus services solutions that give CIOs another tool to free in-house IT resources to focus on more revenue and productivity- oriented projects. These online services give large enterprises increased ability to rationalize their messaging and collaboration costs while simultaneously deploying the latest Microsoft technologies. Unisys is primed to bring these exciting new Microsoft Online Services to current and new clients, as an IT-managed services leader known for designing and delivering innovative IT solutions for the world's biggest and most complex government and enterprise organizations," said Tony Doye, president, Unisys Global Outsourcing and Infrastructure Services.