For years, Microsoft partners have pined for the ability to handle the billing aspects of their business relationships with customers who purchase Microsoft's cloud-based Office apps but to no avail. Until now, partners have only been able to play an "adviser role" in Office 365 sales while Microsoft billed customers directly for Office 365 subscriptions and paid back a margin on subscription fees to “adviser” partners.
That's set to change under a new program Microsoft unveiled this week at its Worldwide Partner Conference. The new Office 365 Open program allows partners to buy Office 365 subscription keys from a price list, sell services to customers and bill them directly.
It's the same approach Microsoft uses for selling most of its software products through the channel, and a step that should help reduce friction while encouraging more partners to sell cloud software.