Microsoft has launched the latest iteration of its Office 365 product to businesses today, claiming that it wants to double its 50,000-strong army of partners selling it by its next Worldwide Partner Conference in July.
Office 365 has been available to the channel for 18 months on volume licensing, but will be more widely available to all businesses from today through the fully packaged product (FPP) and Open licensing models.
Speaking to CRN, Microsoft's corporate vice president for the worldwide partner group Jon Roskill said that so far, smaller businesses have been most impressed with Office 365, with 90 per cent of its sales going to firms with fewer than 50 users.
One in five of its enterprise customers have taken up the new product so far, he added.
Roskill said the next step for resellers is to get in touch with their distributors.
"Resellers need to reach out to their disties. We have been training around 130,000 of our partners in the past 90 days. Also, our MPN programme Cloud Essentials gives partners that are interested in the cloud a number of benefits including the ability to access Office 365 to run their own businesses on," he added.
"We believe you are better off promoting it if you use it – it's using the cloud to sell the cloud."
Microsoft has remained tight-lipped over specific details of all the business SKUs available, including details of Open licensing, but did divulge information on what its Small Business Premium and Midsize Business offering includes.
The former is designed for businesses with fewer than 10 employees and includes access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access, Publisher and Lync.
The programme can be licensed on up to five PCs or Macs for a single user, which are interchangeable. The product is available through SMB resellers as well as in stores and online, and costs $12.50 per month in US pricing.
Its Midsize Business SKU is designed to give customers an enterprise standard programme with simple management. It costs $15 per month in US pricing and includes additional phone-based support.
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