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CDW To Sell Google Apps in Addition to Office 365

CDW announced plans this week to start reselling Google Apps for Business.

The deal is a notable one because CDW is one of Microsoft's biggest partners, especially on Office 365 resales. The timing led to speculation that CDW closed the Google deal in response to Microsoft's Jan. 25 cuts in partner reimbursements. Those cuts affected partner payouts for deploying Office 365 seats sold under Enterprise Agreements, reducing the amount partners receive by as much as 56 percent.

CDW's outside PR agency added to the speculation. An e-mail subject line described the deal as "Google Gains Strategic Ally CDW in Cloud Services Battle," which seemed to imply that CDW might be picking a new side in the cloud suite faceoff.

However, CDW Chairman and CEO Thomas E. Richards hit back hard against the idea that there was any retaliation or side picking. During the Q&A portion of a Thursday earnings call, Richards said of the new Google deal, "Look, this isn't about us doing anything other than finding a particular partner that had an opportunity in the marketplace and us building off of the success we had with the [Google] Chromebook."

CDW started partnering with Google in February 2013 to sell Chromebooks.

Without naming names, Richards implied Microsoft when he continued, "I don't think it's going to have any impact on other partners. In fact, as it was, I think, reported in some places, it had nothing to do with our partnership with other people. We're excited about our partners and I think the strategy some of our other partners are deploying about pushing people like CDW to the cloud is absolutely the right thing to do. We've been planning for it, investing for it and feel really good about it."

"We are absolutely excited about that [Google] partnership, but it's not at the expense of other partnerships. Trust me," Richards said.

Richards' comments suggested that CDW will offer Office 365 and Google Apps for Business side-by-side to customers, which in itself is a win for Google and a loss for Microsoft. Because CDW has been one of Microsoft's strongest cloud suite partners since the Business Productivity Online Suite days and is a past Microsoft Large Account Reseller Partner of the Year award winner, the high-profile move could be a catalyst for hundreds of other partners to broaden their cloud portfolios to include Google.

Richards said that Google will develop professional services capacity to migrate and deploy Google Apps for Business seats. For now, it will use partners to help bridge its expertise gap in that area. CDW's first professional services partner is Denver-based Tempus Nova Inc., a Google Apps Premier Reseller, and CDW is looking to work with more partners.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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