Microsoft has announced that it will be offering Hosted Office, Exchange and Sharepoint (called Live Office Workspace). Obviously, this is a move to counter Google, which just released Google Sites, a collaboration app to complement Google Apps. How will Microsoft Partners react to MS selling Hosted Exchange, something of a revenue generator for a few like Intermedia.net, GroupSpark, and Azaleos.
Microsoft also will be rolling out hosted Office Communications Server itself. I guess, they think its too big of a deal to leave to partners. Or maybe it will be a big roll-out integrated with Nortel.
Does MS just want partners selling licenses? It may seem so. VARs are now competing against a hosted suite of services from their Vendor, while also being challenged from communications providers like MSO's (see post here). Now Microsoft has officially become an ILEC - a monopoly that treats its channel as a "partner".
Want a good comparison of MS Workspace versus Google Sites? Read Sarah's post.