The coming battle between Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365 (the next successor to Business Productivity Online Suite) just got a little more interesting. In fact, Oracle has released Oracle Cloud office – a SaaS platform that VARs and MSPs can host on your account. In addition, Oracle released Open Office 3.3, the latest version of the desktop productivity suite. Here are five quick points sized to be considered as reflecting productivity strategies for desktop and mobile clients.
1. Oracle Cloud office: Oracle said that Oracle customers can take Cloud Office on the premise behind a firewall. In addition, Oracle partners can host your own Office Cloud. In recent months we have heard from a growing number of MSPs who have specialized business practices, Oracle. We are checking with MSPs to see if Oracle is giving Cloud Office at a glance. And we are also checking possible pricing models.
2. Google Apps: Stephen Cho, Director of Channels for Google Apps, says the SaaS platform now has more than 2,000 associates. Interestingly, Google allows channel partners to manage the SaaS billing process with the end customer. So far, Microsoft has not offered this capability. Cho and Google Apps Channel Program Manager Jeff Ragusa TalkinCloud describe the strategy, MSPmentor sister site. But admit it: Some MSPs being careful to partner with Google because of possible competition-direct customers.
3. Microsoft Office 365: Some MSPs worry about Microsoft’s strategy of super-aggressive pricing of the Office 365, the next successor to Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOs). However, Microsoft was quick to point out that BPOS has more than 16,000 channel partners. And Microsoft has developed special incentives and educational activities, called Essentials and accelerate Microsoft Cloud Cloud – to help the benefits associated with the cloud. Jenni Flinders, U.S. Vice President strategy and associated programs, describes the strategy TalkinCloud. Microsoft still does not allow partners to manage customer billing for SaaS. However, a sample Microsoft, Parallels relationship that Microsoft is looking closely SaaS billing models for channel partners, particularly large service providers.
4. Hedging their bets: Some of the largest Microsoft Hosting Partners are developing their SaaS strategies to include non-Microsoft software. Intermedia, for example, is preparing to launch a hosted unified communications channel partner program in January 2011. Intermediate and supports about 300,000 stayed and Hosted Exchange email users. But the host Unified Communications solution will involve some third party code that integrates with Microsoft Exchange on the back-end and Microsoft Outlook on the front. Translation: Intermediate Microsoft plans to compete with Lync, the successor to Microsoft Office Communications Server.
5. Do not forget the newcomers: A number of companies have launched alternative to Google Apps and Microsoft BPOS. We often hear of HyperOffice, which promotes the line of business collaboration software. Zoho continues to turn heads with a range of SaaS offerings. And upstarts like ChannelCloud appear to be preparing VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) solutions for VARs and MSPs. In fact, ChannelCloud hopes to help VARs and integrators, MSPs become clouds.
Of course, the above list simplifies a very complex debate involving potentially dozens of additional vendors, as well as financial considerations and business model. We will be back with more thoughts soon.