Microsoft says it's a SaaS mistake

Microsoft says it's a SaaS mistake

Summary: A Microsoft speaker at a conference on Monday came out with some interesting news that I reported on ZDNet UK. The news was that after it appeared that Microsoft wanted to cut resellers out of the relationship it had with its resellers, it then had apparently had a change of heart and was keen to include resellers in this relationship after all.

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TOPICS: After Hours
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A Microsoft speaker at a conference on Monday came out with some interesting news that I reported on ZDNet UK. The news was that after it appeared that Microsoft wanted to cut resellers out of the relationship it had with its resellers, it then had apparently had a change of heart and was keen to include resellers in this relationship after all.

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This is what Microsoft apparently said through the director of its Software Plus Services (software-as-a-service or SaaS as the rest of world calls it) strategy Shannon Day:

" … there is definitely a movement afoot to let you resell services, and you would own the paper and agreement with the customer."

In other words the news, as reported by the trade newspaper and web site CRN, was good for resellers of Microsoft software. They could "own" any relationships they had with Microsoft and Microsoft's customers and Microsoft would be happy with a cut of any deal.

We asked Microsoft to comment or enlighten us further but received no direct reply until Tuesday. Microsoft it now seems had made an error, or rather a Microsoft executive had unfortunately given us a misleading message.

We received a statement from Microsoft:

"In Q2 2009, Microsoft will give Microsoft Online Service partners the opportunity to create a Microsoft Online Services order tailored to their customer. Once enabled, partners will populate an order with recommended services and quantities while designating themselves as partner of record. The order generates a URL the partner sends directly to the customer to confirm and complete the order. Partners continue to own and manage their customer relationships, while Microsoft manages the billing process."

So there it is. Yes, resellers can "own" the customer/Microsoft agreement but when it comes to the real heart of it, which is of course the money, Microsoft is still keeping control.

Topic: After Hours

About

Colin Barker is based in London and is Senior Reporter for ZDNet. He has been writing about the IT business for some 30-plus years. He still enjoys it.

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  • Microsoft says it's a SaaS mistake

    Which also means that if the customer goes out of business then MS still gets its money from the reseller as the reseller must take the hit. Risky business "owning the customer/Microsoft agreement" especially with Microsoft.
    deaf_e_kate
  • Microsoft says it's a SaaS mistake

    Seems to be that Microsoft can invoke and revoke these options at will.

    What's to say that they will change their mind again a few months down the track? Where does that leave resellers who have 'hooked' their customers into the Microsoft SaaS 'platform'? Once entangled within the Microsoft API cobweb, it's damn hard to get out.

    Which is why, as a reseller, I place my faith with open source software. That way, no-one tells me what to do with my business, platforms and customers.
    conz-fd600