Microsoft's channel partners will be able to get their hands on Academic and Government SKUs for Office 365 via Open licensing from 1 September.
Last year at its Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), Microsoft announced it was bringing one Office 365 SKU to the Open programme – meaning resellers could own their own customer billing – but it took months to come to fruition, leaving the channel confused about the delay.
At last week's WPC in Houston, the vendor announced all Office 365 SKUs would be available on Open, but could not give a timeline as to when it would be rolled out. Today distributor Westcoast confirmed the move is just weeks away for some SKUs.
Both Academic and Government Office 365 SKUs will be available to buy via Open Licence programmes from 1 September, with the former also available from the Education Solutions Open Value subscription. Government SKUs will be available from the Open Value and Open Value Subscription programmes too, according to Westcoast's Microsoft cloud manager Debbie Allen's licensing blog.
Microsoft was unavailable to comment at the time of publication.
Alex Tatham, Westcoast's sales and marketing director said that the move "can only be good news and demonstrates Microsoft's commitment to the channel".
Richard Gibbons, software manager at reseller Bechtle, said he thought Microsoft's speedy delivery of its promise to further expand Open SKUs shows it has learned its lesson from last year.
"Last time, they announced [Office 365 on Open] at WPC, then it was seven or eight months later [when it came to the channel]," he said. "They may as well have not bothered announcing it at WPC and just waited until they were ready – I know a lot of partners who agree. Microsoft wants to keep momentum behind the cloud, and getting [this] done by the end of Q1 will help with that."
Steve Cox, chief operating officer at reseller Technology Services Group, said he thought bringing more SKUs to market faster than last time is a sign the vendor is listening to the channel and customers.
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