Exclusive: Microsoft, USWeb set to dance

Software giant to tap services vendor with wide-ranging partnership.

Microsoft next week is slated to become the latest big-name vendor to forge a high-profile alliance with an Internet services company.

At an event in San Francisco next Tuesday, 28 September, Microsoft is planning to announce an in-depth alliance with USWeb/CKS. The deal is expected to span co-marketing opportunities and dollars, advanced training on emerging Microsoft technologies, and tandem consulting work between USWeb/CKS and Microsoft's professional services division, ZDNN sister publication Sm@rt Reseller has learned.

In addition, at least one analyst is speculating that the deal could involve application outsourcing, with USWeb/CKS hosting Microsoft's software. Financial details and other specifics of the agreement were not immediately available. Officials from Microsoft and USWeb/CKS did not respond to calls by press time.

The partnership between vendor and consulting company is nothing new. And Microsoft and USWeb/CKS have already inked a number of similar, although less far-reaching deals, in recent months. Last month, America Online tapped Proxicom as its preferred solutions provider. Per the agreement, Proxicom will assist AOL corporate customers with Internet and intranet services, as well as e-business strategy, software development and information architecture design. According to AOL, the deal culminated three years of successful partnerships with Proxicom.

Also last month, Hewlett-Packard singled out Sapient and Viant as key integrators for its E-services vision and nascent E-speak cross-platform integration technology. HP is banking on the fast-growing services companies to perpetuate its vision of hosted applications and online services -- hopefully using HP's hardware and its pre-beta E-speak brokering technology.

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