Microsoft showers Office 365 sellers with gold in Google snub

The eye of Redmond moves to the small biz space

Microsoft is again rattling Google’s cage by throwing money at channel folk that convert small businesses into Office 365 believers.

The Fast Track programme was launched in 2014 for customers with more than 150 seats to drive adoption of Microsoft’s online service, but the glare of Redmond is switching to those with 149 and under.

“We are expanding the FY16 Adoption Offer to include Office 365 small business plans and adding payouts for customer deployments of 50-149 seats,” Microsoft told partners and end-user punters in a blog.

Resellers who convince customers to sign a contract and hold their hand through the process will be “eligible” for a handout of $25 per seat. Alternatively, if Microsoft does the grunt work of migrating email from Google or an on-premises server, it won’t charge.

Both Microsoft and Google are continually erecting sales programmes to win business from each other; Microsoft previously warned it couldn’t compete with Google on price and needed other tactics than talking about others' lack of features or the difficulties with integrating Google for Work.

Microsoft didn’t want to directly attack Google in public but it lined up Matt Katzer, head of channel partner customer Kamind IT, who claimed: “Companies tend to reach a breaking point with Google Apps around the 50-employee mark because it doesn’t provide the centralised management and security capabilities, nor the breath of integrated collaboration too, that Office 365 does.”

One early promo involved Microsoft giving partners $40 per seat for the first 3,000 seats in a large enterprise that moved to Office 365. Google also pushed out its own competitive win-back scheme last year.

Channel partners we contacted yesterday told us Microsoft is offering the free migration service due to the pressure of moving customers to the cloud.

“Email migration is grunt work but it is grunt work we are paid to do, and is good money,” said one. ®

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