Microsoft Exec: The Next Few Years Are Going To Be A Land Grab For Annuities

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Microsoft is delivering a portfolio of cloud-based services empowering small businesses in a way never before possible, said Cindy Bates, vice president of U.S. SMB and distribution at the software giant, in a keynote Tuesday morning at NexGen Cloud.

Microsoft saw $2 billion in annual revenue in the U.S. from the small and midsize business market, Bates said, and from a show of hands, it's a market almost every solution provider gathered in San Diego for The Channel Company-sponsored event is pursuing.

The possibilities in that market are especially unique and exciting, Bates said.

[Related: NexGen Cloud: Cloud Is Still A Gold Rush]

"Solutions previously available only to very large companies are now available to the smallest," Bates said. That's "opening up a wealth of opportunity for all of us together."

Microsoft, she said, offers the solutions the channel needs to capitalize on the democratization of technology ushered in by the cloud.

That starts with Office 365, the Software-as-a-Service office productivity suite.

Then come the products that can be attached to Office 365, said Bates, like Enterprise Mobility Suite for mobile device management, and Dynamics CRM Online for customer engagement.

There’s also the Azure public cloud, which is on pace for an $8 billion run rate. Azure is growing at a frantic pace, with 24 regions around the world and 90,000 new customers a month, Bates said.

The next few years are really going to be a land grab for all that annuity business, she said.

But to seize the rewards made possible by the evolving IT landscape, partners must themselves evolve. The "partner of the future" is not primarily doing a low-margin transactional business, Bates told attendees.

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