Microsoft Software + Services – Partners = The Future


My favorite cat killer is right, I don’t like where Microsoft is going with it’s Software+Services strategy. What I specifically don’t like about it is the PR way in which they are trying to crush their partners in order to compete with Google. In a way, this is no different from what Google is offering, but Google is at least openly waving a middle finger to its resellers and cutting straight to the end user.

Microsoft is trying to dance the line. “Oh, you can buy it from a ton of our partners, or you can buy it directly from us.” Sorry, no go. You’re either comitted to your partner base, or you’re directly competing for their customers business. There is no middle ground, absolutely zero.

How can S+S be a victory for the Microsoft partners? Maybe if Microsoft follows its tradition of dismal product offerings combined with terrible support that was the downfall of bCentral and is currently leaving far behind? I have a little too much faith in Microsoft to believe this will happen, as this is pretty much their last shot at Web 2.0–ish application delivery.

Moves like this make me realize that I am no longer in a partnership with Microsoft but just sending them money so they can crush me faster. Microsoft got to where it’s at by working with partners, but now their “giving more choices to the customers” means “getting more ways to work with the end user directly without the middleman.”

No, thanks. In a way though, this is inevitable. Software is becoming easy to use, end users can manage themselves faster and better, be more productive without IT overseeing all activities and given a sufficiently open company with sufficiently loyal privacy-minded employees, it’s a huge win for the customer. Microsoft is trading the partner loyalty in order to battle Google for the segment of the IT consumers that feel IT services are worthless. Not a business I’d want to target, and sadly, no longer the company I want to recommend because their focus is clearly elsewhere.

We have been very successful as a hybrid company delivering direct services and partner-powered solutions, but we’ve been able to make it work because we’re a service organization. Microsoft is a product company that looks at service as an alacarte addon, and support as an expense. Will they be able to compete with OWN? Doubt that. Will they burn the goodwill and send us looking elsewhere? At WWPC, they’ve done so already.

5 Responses to Microsoft Software + Services – Partners = The Future

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