Richard Glew, Microsoft's worldwide director of partner marketing, told The Reg how the introduction of Office 2003 has changed the way the software giant's reseller partners work with customers.
Glew said Office 2003 was the first time the desktop applications came with a proper developer platform, enabling independent software vendors to offer more tailored solutions rather than just selling licences.
"It's a very different sales technique," he said. "It's not just about mapping sales to hardware refreshes any more. Partners can lead deployment rather than follow it - they can offer extra services the customer wants." Glew believes the developer platform allows partners to sell more services on top of straight software licences.
Michala Alexander, UK project manager at Microsoft, says she had seen similar changes in the UK with more resellers working with other partners to win contracts: "The challenge of getting resellers to network and work together is a big focus for us this year." Microsoft is also look for more UK partners to resell enterprise project management, she says.
In terms of barriers to sales, older versions of Office are a more frequent problem than Linux or other vendors, Glew said.
According to Microsoft, Office 2003 is ahead of XP after one year in every segment it tracks. Office revenue grew 17 per cent in financial year 2003 to $10.8bn. SharePoint Portal Server is the firm's fastest growing product, with 30m licencees. ®