At its Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto today, Microsoft made a slew of announcements, including new subscription service offerings for Surface and Windows 10. Of course, the news focuses on giving the company’s partners more options, which, in turn, helps Microsoft’s bottom line. Microsoft now has 10,000 resellers, up from 5,000 in October.
First up, Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Providers and Surface Authorized Distributors can now sell Surface as a Service. That means Surface devices are available to the company’s resellers and customers through a managed service, alongside managed cloud services, Office 365, Windows 10, and ISV software.
Furthermore, Microsoft has expanded its Surface Multi-National Purchasing Program with the addition of CDW, Insight, SHI, and Zones — these resellers can now offer their enterprise customers Surface devices and accessories. Last but not least, Microsoft has also partnered with IBM and Booz Allen Hamilton for industry-specific solutions that work with Surface; the former will create offerings for the financial services and consumer packaged goods sectors while the latter will develop offerings for governments, the public sector, and healthcare.
As for Windows, Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 Enterprise E3 in the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) channel. In the fall, businesses will be able to get enterprise-grade security and management capabilities at $7 a seat per month.
Microsoft says 96 percent of its business customers are running active pilots of Windows 10. In other words, partners have plenty of opportunity to sell something that businesses are already seriously considering.
Here’s the pitch Microsoft wants its partners to make:
- Increased Security: Offering the sophisticated security features of Windows 10 to help businesses secure sensitive data and identities, help ensure devices are protected from cybersecurity threats, give employees the freedom and flexibility to access sensitive data on a variety of devices, and help ensure controlled access to highly sensitive data.
- Simplified Licensing & Deployment: Helping businesses lower up-front costs, eliminating the need for time-consuming device counting and audits, and making it easier to stay compliant with a subscription-based, per-user licensing model. This new offering allows businesses to easily move from Windows 10 Pro to Windows 10 Enterprise E3 without rebooting.
- Partner-managed IT: Configuring and managing devices by a partner experienced in Windows 10 and cloud deployments. Partners can also help businesses develop a device security and management strategy with the unique features of Windows 10. Businesses can view subscriptions and usage for Windows 10 Enterprise, and any other Microsoft cloud services purchased, in their partner portal for easier management with one contract, one user account, one support contact, and one simplified bill.
In short, CSP partners will thus be able to offer their business customers Microsoft’s “full IT stack” — Windows 10, Office 365, Dynamics Azure, and CRM as a per user, per month offering via a single channel.