Gates: Partners Should Not Fret About Its Managed Services Plan

In a meeting with CRN Tuesday, the software giant's co-founder and chief software architect said Microsoft is considering offering hosted CRM and hosted SharePoint services directly to customers, just as the company offers Hotmail and LiveMeeting today, but that partners won't be adversely affected.

Gates said servers equals services. Currently, Microsoft does not sell server software directly, but will offer managed services directly to customers. Yet, the chairman said the channel model won't change because partners will have choices.

"Are we going to or do we rely on partners as venue? There are two things there, how much we rely on partners to get into the customer and do customization, and be on the front lines of the relationship, versus where the hardware is," he said, noting that it doesn't matter where the server resides.

"We're creating software so more and more servers equal services and can run on customer premises, [or hosted]. We want to give people choice where the software runs. "

Sponsored post

Gates said partners will be free to host and extend Microsoft services. Earlier this year, Microsoft launched a Windows OneCare security sevrice for consumers and small businesses and plans enterprise and SMB antivirus and anti-spyware services.

"Partners need to come in and be the ones who pull together the solution, " Gates told CRN.

"It doesn't change that piece. We've been hosting Hotmail, and put in new features, and have paid subscriptions, and that's Exchange in the cloud. Exchange run by partners is mostly in the telcos, and [we have] Exchange running on premise."