Microsoft drops Office 365 for biz. Now it's just Microsoft 365. Word

All Redmond's major business offerings have become The One

By Andrew Silver


Microsoft is squishing its major biz products into a single solution called – wait for it – Microsoft 365, CEO Satya Nadella announced at Inspire, Redmond's annual event for businesses that flog its wares. Not a single chair was flung, we can report.

Office 365, Windows 10, and enterprise mobility and security, will be peddled in two flavours: Microsoft 365 Enterprise and Microsoft 365 Business, Nadella said. The latter, which adds device and licence management from a single location, will be available for preview on August 2.

Also announced was a "Relationship Sales Solution", wherein colleagues can combine Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and LinkedIn. Microsoft-based office workers can also share info with contacts who also use the software, which might or might not be a good feature for Microsoft, depending on your perspective.

To help sell these products, Microsoft also announced some big changes about its relationship with the tech channel or trade customers.

"We are transforming the way we partner with you," corporate VP Ron Huddleston intoned.

He added that, by talking to customers, Microsoft learned that they felt like they were interacting with multiple "partner-led" companies rather than "One Microsoft".

Microsoft's new group, a "Commercial Partner Organization" (CPO), is led by trade customers and continues putting the "partner first", he said. The new org has three teams: one for building business, one for going to market, and the third for "co-selling".

The business team is expected help those who flog Microsoft's wares to build IP and capacity across tech, as well as offer the usual tech support.

When it comes to marketing and selling, Microsoft is making a $250m investment in connecting the channel to customers. As part of that investment, there is a new "channel manager" role, for example.

There were also two specific sales changes mentioned.

First, reps are now paid based on Azure consumed revenue. Second, reps are now paid 10 per cent of the value of "partner solutions" sold, these sound like specific bundles of products that Microsoft deems strategic. Huddleston said Microsoft ran a trial last year and the figure made was $6bn – this year maybe it'll happen for real.

Mark Paine, Gartner analyst, said the long-running event, previously known as the Worldwide Partner Conference, lacked vim and vigour:

"From where I'm sitting it seems to be missing excitement. Steve Ballmer and Kevin Turner divided opinion but they worked the partners well at these conferences. Very interested to hear more about the CPO group. On the surface it sounds like they've listened and acted on partner feedback (at last). The devil, however, is in the detail." ®

PS: Check out the news of Microsoft's Azure Stack launch and our take on the unveiling.

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily


More from The Register

Microsoft has signed up to the Open Invention Network. We repeat. Microsoft has signed up to the OIN

That 60,000 patents in your pocket or are you just pleased to see us?

Microsoft Germany emerging from behind Deutsche Telekom cloud

Frankfurt, Berlin regions to launch end of 2019, T-Systems 'trustee' deal to be retired

Microsoft wants to cart your data away in a box and punt it onto Azure

Ignite 1PB of Fedex-able rack-on-rollers

Using Microsoft's Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations? Using Skype? Not for long!

Upcoming update could bork on-prem logins, warns Redmond

So what's Microsoft's counter-AWS cloud strategy? Don't be evil

Lil pupper yaps at big doge

IoT shouters Chirp get themselves added to Microsoft Azure IoT

Now your devices can join you in bellowing at Redmond's products

Microsoft adds delayed gratification to the Surface Hub 2 line

Ignite S version set for Q2 '19 debut, but full tiling pleasure on the X delayed

Robot Operating System gets the Microsoft treatment

RoTM What's that coming over the hill? Is it a robot? A Windows robot?

Microsoft gets edge on AWS with Azure Stack for government

Feds can now stick Redmond clouds into on-prem hardware

SoftwareONE goes Comparex: When one Microsoft reseller giant buys another

Two Redmond wranglers sitting in a tree...