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Microsoft Clams Up on BPOS-Lite Rumor

Microsoft has removed a job posting seeking a manager for a new hosted offering intended to bring e-mail and collaboration services to SMBs.

The service is code-named "BPOS-Lite," according to text of the posting, which was revealed Monday by ZDNet.com and Redmond columnist Mary Jo Foley. "BPOS 'Lite'...is part of the 'next wave' of services targeting professional individuals and smaller organizations, offering Microsoft's best collaboration, communications and productivity services," the now-removed posting said.

The manager hired for the position will be charged with developing business strategy, including creating a go-to-market model, launching services and developing service enhancements, according to the posting. The manager will "act as strong advocate for BPOS-Lite with corporate, field and partner teams; with analysts; and at industry and customer events," according to the post.

Microsoft isn't commenting, though its partner group has tweeted Foley's post. "We are always working on the next wave of Microsoft Online Services, offering Microsoft's best collaboration, communications and productivity services to businesses of all sizes," said a prepared statement e-mailed by a company spokesperson. "Although we do not have details available to share today, we look forward to sharing more at a later date."

Perhaps that later date will land during Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington, D.C. that's slated for July, speculated The VAR Guy.

One person who's heard rumblings about BPOS-Lite is Bob Leibholz, vice president of business development at New York-based Intermedia, a Microsoft Gold Certified partner and one of the largest BPOS hosting providers with over 250,000 Microsoft Exchange seats. Leibholz said Microsoft hasn't given him any information about the service and he's wondering if it may put a tighter squeeze on him and his partners.

Leibholz made his displeasure known last fall when Microsoft cut the pricing of BPOS from $15 a month per subscriber to $10.

"From my perspective, they devalued BPOS last year when they decreased the price, and a concept of BPOS-Lite, which is basically another price concession, fundamentally continues to miss the understanding of value and rather compete purely on price," Leibholz said in an interview today.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has experienced scattered outages with its BPOS service over the past week, most recently yesterday. According to a letter to customers last week from Microsoft's Online Services team, the root cause of the outages were issues with networking. "We hold ourselves to the very highest standard," the letter said. "And yesterday, we didn't meet it."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 02/02/2010 at 1:14 PM


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