Microsoft has announced the expansion of its Office 365 Open programme at its Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) event.
At its partner gathering in Toronto last summer, the vendor unveiled the programme, but it was only applicable for one SKU. Today it announced the expansion of the programme to include all SKUs including Exchange Online, Enterprise, Government and Academic offerings.
The vendor remained tight-lipped on when the changes will come into place – last year the changes were announced in July, but came to fruition only in February this year.
The 16,000-strong crowd applauded chief marketing officer Tami Reller's announcement, before she claimed that the vendor was also investing another $100m (£67.3m) in partner enablement around the cloud, above and beyond the existing channel incentives.
WPC attendees took to Twitter to celebrate the announcement, with some describing it as "great news" and others enthusing that it gives partners even more opportunities in the cloud.
Microsoft released joint research with analyst IDC which showed partners that generate more than half their revenue from the cloud grow twice as fast as those with less than half of their business dedicated to the cloud.
Janet Gibbons (pictured), Microsoft's UK director for partner strategy and programmes, said the move to expand the Open programme helps partners out.
"The SKUs [which are now available on Open] were available to enterprises and not on Open licensing, [but now] all variations of Office 365 are available on Open licensing," she said.
"The other big news is the Office 365 upgrade SKU, which means that if you're a customer, most of our SMB customers run off this and are licensed for on-premise, but this SKU allows them to step up and convert their office on-premise licence to an Office 365 subscription. Colleagues who work in the SMB space say it is a game changer."
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