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And I think the change in Office 365 billing, the Office 365 Open initiative, is a big deal.
That's the other piece. So clearly partners have been talking to us about that for some time. When I first took this job, it was one of the things that was being raised at the time pretty consistently. It's interesting, since then I would say the noise level around it has actually dropped quite a bit. It could that either they figured that with [the Advisor program] we're not trying to do a bait-and-switch. It could be they just assumed we were done talking about it and they gave up on us.
But the reality is that in this new world of cloud services, the business model, the channel model, and the product are so interleaved. We spent a lot of time talking with the [distributors] about whether there was anything we could do, for instance, with a sort of a pre-paid card, to put Office 365 in the channel. We had a lot of different things we pursued with the disties. Because at the end of the day they need something to sell. They sell millions of SKUs, and they just need to be able to SKU these things up into their system. We worked with them a lot and they were never really able to get it set up. We talked about a lot of different things, [but] we couldn't figure out something that would work with what we had.
And so that's why it's taken us, really, an extra year, because we've now built the model into the products. This next release of Office 365 has this, what we call five-by-five code capability. It's very similar to the way our product key card works in retail full-packaged products.
Five-by-five code capability?
So what happens is you buy [software seats in] one-, five- 20-, 50-, 100- and 500-seat increments With those denominations you can make up any amount you want. And each one of those will come with a code. So it gives you the unique code for a one-year subscription, one year of service, and it goes into the channel like any other product. From a disties' standpoint it just looks like anything else they can put a SKU number on. For us to support that actually required us to go into the guts of the product to make it so you could activate the codes. There's a whole billing component behind it.
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