Microsoft, HP Invite VARs To Host
In case there was any lingering doubt, we can confirm this week that
Microsoft is serious about this SaaS -- or even Software Plus Services -- stuff
after all. And despite some early concerns, it's becoming clearer that partners
won't be as shut out as they might have thought.
This week, Microsoft and HP revealed an initiative aimed at preparing
VARs to undertake what's called private-label hosting. Basically, VARs resell
applications hosted in datacenters by Microsoft-approved managed service
providers (or MSPs, of course); HP and Microsoft provide some technical
infrastructure and handy tips for getting started.
The nice thing here for VARs, other than getting some assistance in moving
into a hot, new technology model, is that they can put their names on these
hosted services. That's the nature of private label -- VARs brand hosted
offerings as their own rather than selling a product with somebody else's name
on it and just settling for a referral fee. With private label, VARs don't have
to give up their identities as trusted advisers to customers.
For MSPs, too, there are advantages. Despite considerable efforts from the
good folks at the MSP Alliance, managed service providers still face a bit
of an uphill battle overcoming the bad impressions a few of
the bad apples in their industry have left with customers. HP and Microsoft,
with this new program, are giving MSPs a little endorsement in selling to VARs.
Private-label sales to VARs already is and should continue to be a nice revenue
stream for many MSPs; a positive word and some technical help from Microsoft
and HP should only help service providers' cause in attracting VARs as
Of course, this new initiative doesn't make everything OK. Microsoft is
still planning to host its own applications and therefore compete pretty directly with MSPs, as well as with VARs.
And unless Steve Ballmer has changed his mind since July, Redmond doesn't plan on giving a competitive inch to its
Still, if anything, the Microsoft-HP initiative has the look of a bit of an
olive branch to the channel at a time when a lot of partners are still not
totally sure how cloud computing will affect their businesses or how, exactly,
they should participate in it. And that doesn't seem like a bad thing.
Will you take advantage of the Microsoft-HP hosting offer? How are you
preparing your business to deal with cloud computing? Let us know at [email protected].
Posted by Lee Pender on 12/11/2008 at 1:22 PM