Does Microsoft Want To Be Google?

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Apple's consumerization of IT has become a major thorn in Microsoft's side, but what about Google? At a recent roundtable, VARs said that Microsoft has begun modeling its Office 365 cloud software after Google, and it's causing both partners and end users headaches.

"They make it difficult just to install for a client," said Jeannette Movsesian, owner of York, Maine-based Microcosm. "A normal home user has a hard time doing it."

Land Computer President Rich Trahant agreed. "We're battling the same thing as the end user is, and in a lot of cases, someone buys a new PC and you say, 'Well, you can set up Office.' Well, the time it takes to actually download, create an account -- they're asking very personal questions, and this is after you purchase the product."

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"They're trying to fight back against the Apples of the world," Trahant added, before Computer EZ's Adam Berg added, "And the Googles."

’They're not so different than when a customer goes to create a new Gmail account, or Google account," Berg said. "What’s happening is that because they want you -- the end user – tied into their live drive, or whatever you call it, what's happening is that as we go down this synchronization world, we prefer that if you use our operating system you create an account."

When it comes to actually partnering with Microsoft on cloud offerings, PCG's Dave Hodgon said changes over the last year have been difficult, but not so difficult that partners will leave the software giant.

"They did tighten up the requirements for partnership so before it was very easy, but now you have to have certain credentials, that you're a special and X, X and X. So it's not as easy to renew, but they've been very good. They help you get the renewal," Hodgon said.