When Microsoft revealed Equipt the other day (Diversity coverage here) there was much discussion as to whether it amounted to the totality of MS’s SaaS offering).

Well we didn’t have to wait long for an answer. At its worldwide partner conference in Houston this week, MS announced definitive road map and pricing for it’s next tranche of hosted applications. It’s bad news for the resellers but good news for on-demand as a class.

The offerings are targeted at business users and come in two flavours, Business Productivity Online and Deskless Worker. Microsoft is taking a broadside at Google here, trying to stem the flow of users moving to Google docs – unfortunately until MS adds it’s office productivity apps to it’s on-demand offerings, it will seem like a disjointed approach – while these tools allow subscription based on-demand use of SharePoint and live meeting, they do not as yet allow true on-demand office productivity app usage.

The offerings are thus far enablers for telecommuting allowing hosted email, calendaring and IM/presence. As an attempt to sweeten the offering for corporate IT departments, MS will deploy a simple interface which will allow rapid set up of these tools for new workers. A limited beta signup is available here.

MS has tried to appease resellers by offering kick-backs on the subscription fee, but it’s hard to imagine that there will be many very happy resellers out there – sensing the beginning of the end for their hyper lucrative business models.

Below is a diagram of the MS offerings announced thus far.


Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • So are the resellers going to be unhappy or happy? Its unclear given this phrasing:

    …but it’s hard to imagine that there will be many very unhappy resellers out there…

    Informative post otherwise, thanks.

  • sorry – was meant to read “happy” – edited now


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