Microsoft is still very much a channel-facing company, despite the fact that it is pushing to become an application service provider (ASP), according to Stephen Uden, head of partner marketing at the company.
The software giant launched its new .Net strategy in London last week, branding it "the biggest launch in our history". It recently formed an ASP company with Cable & Wireless and Compaq, and has other ASP partnerships in the pipeline.
According to Microsoft, .Net is a "new generation of industry-standard hardware, software and services to run today's most demanding enterprise applications". Uden claimed that this will open up partnership opportunities. ".Net is as much a partner opportunity as Windows was. The three main types of partners will all benefit," he said.
Third-party developers will have the choice of about 10,000 applications to work on, he added, and systems integrators will have a "wave of new products to supply on top of the need for consulting and deployment".
As far as resellers are concerned, Uden claimed that it will be "business as usual". "There will still be plenty of licences that people will buy, however many PCs they have with .Net," he added.
He admitted that the emphasis is now turning to the ASP model. "Resellers who don't have ASP [partnerships] will lose out in a sense," he warned, but he insisted that there are plenty of ASPs who are desperate for new customers and would team up with resellers.
"There is certainly a good opportunity in the next five years for resellers to make money out of ASPs," he said.
As for Microsoft wanting to become an ASP, Uden said it was no secret, but he claimed that the move would not take business from the channel.
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