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Microsoft showcases new tech synergies with cloud at its core

James Henderson | July 15, 2016
During a string of Azure, Office 365, Windows 10 and Surface announcements on the second day of 2016 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, the tech giant displayed a sense of coherence in front of its sell-out channel crowd.

Surface

 On the devices side, Microsoft introduced new flexible purchasing options including a Surface as a Service offering via the CSP channel and in conjunction with the new Windows 10 Enterprise E3 programs.

According to Mehdi, Cloud Solution Providers - who are also Surface Authorised Distributors - can offer Surface devices through a managed service offering to all resellers and customers, alongside managed cloud services, Office 365, Windows 10, and relevant ISV software.

"This new offering enables flexibility of solutions, faster device refresh and ensures customers can have the latest Surface devices that evolve with the best Windows and Office have to offer," Mehdi added.

In addition, Microsoft also announced an agreement with IBM to write applications specifically for Surface devices.

As reported by IDG News Service, the goal is to tailor Surface devices to meet the needs of financial, consumer goods and retail organisations.

Office 365

 Specific to the Office division, Microsoft now has over 70 million users each month using Office 365, across a wide range of company sizes.

Relative to the channel, partners working with Microsoft have a $US120 billion managed services and solutions opportunity over three years.

"After five years in market, together, Microsoft and our partners can help our mutual customers empower their employees through digital transformation," Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Office, Kirk Koenigsbauer, said.

As reported by ARN, Facebook has signed a deal to migrate its employees to Office 365, rolling out Microsoft's web-based email and calendar services to its 13,000-strong global workforce.

Despite clear market clashes in terms of Facebook for Work, Goldie told ARN that the move highlights a growing shift towards a coopetition approach to business, evident across the industries in a range of capacities.

"Coopetition is key," Goldie explained. "Having that openness as a company to partner on one thing and compete on another represents a great shift in mindset.

"While we know that providing the customer value should be the norm, it's another thing to see it actually play out."

Goldie said that a coopetition centric mindset extends to the Australian channel, with Microsoft working with local SAP partners to deploy and run solutions on Azure.

"We're talking to SAP partners who are keen to understand how they can lead with SAP on Azure and offer this to the customer," he said. "But they are not open to becoming a Dynamics partner at this stage because they have a very successful SAP practice.

"And perhaps previously we may have struggled with the concept of partnering with a SAP partner and not convincing them to become a Dynamics partners, whereas now the conversation has changed to how can we work together to create value around the applications we are delivering."

 

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