Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Microsoft Offers Big Money to Nudge Resellers Into the Cloud

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made his view pretty clear in a speech to partners Monday in Los Angeles. “You need to decide if you’re coming with us.” These partners are companies who resell Microsoft software and services, and Ballmer meant to drive home the point — that the time for hemming and hawing over the cloud is over.

Of course, if Ballmer’s exhortations aren’t enough, here’s another enticement: Cold hard cash. Microsoft said today that it has committed $5.8 billion in incentives, training and tools for members of its Microsoft Partner Network to get accustomed to the new products and services and to encourage them to sell them to their customers.

One big place where it’s putting that cash is behind messaging. It’s an area where Microsoft’s Exchange platform and Outlook desktop software has been under attack lately from the likes of Google Apps, and it’s a key component of Office 365, the new cloud-based version of Microsoft Office. Partners can train up in the newly created Messaging and Communications competencies and learn all about deploying Exchange and Office 365 and its video conferencing software Lync.

In August, Microsoft says it will offer new services in software assurance and planning, essentially paying partners to help their customers deploy Microsoft’s private cloud, and its Azure public cloud service, which competes with, among others, Amazon’s Web services and IBM.

Another area of focus: Dynamics CRM, an area where there’s stiff competition from Salesforce.com, plus longer-term CRM players like Oracle and SAP. Partners are being offered 40 percent of the sale of each new subscription to Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Microsoft is just a bit player in the online CRM world for now, but as history shows, it rarely stays in that position for long.


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