As of next year, Australian Microsoft partners will have the opportunity to bundle Office 365 with their existing services, rather than partner via Telstra.
The new licenses will become available within the first half of the 2014 calendar year and pricing will be released closer to the date.
In a blog, Microsoft Office division business group lead, Steven Miller, said the new licensing options were introduced in response to the evolving dynamic of the market.
“For the first time in Australia, Microsoft partners will also have the ability to bundle Office 365 with their existing services, ensuring customers see the service as part of their total bill from the partner,” he said in the blog.
Microsoft launched Office 365 in Australia with Telstra in 2011. There was a mixed reaction from the channel community, particularly with regards to pricing and partnering with Telstra in order to access the product range.
Insight Asia Pacific strategic partnerships manager, Kristin Moriarty, said it was positive news for partners and it reduced the complexity of having to deal with different organisations for different Office 365 opportunities.
"Prior, we had to work with Telstra on smaller opportunities and with Microsoft on larger ones," she said. "It now enables us to sell Office 365 through more traditional licensing models, which is one of our strengths."
South Australia-based Microsoft Gold Partner, Calvert Technologies founder, Dean Calvert, said he was all in favour of the new licensing and hasn't had any issues dealing with Telstra in the first place.
"A lot of people have got an issue with it, where they think Telstra will take their customer or they don't have control over it, but we haven't had any issues and I guess that's because we've learnt how to work together with Telstra to do the implementations," he said. "Telstra has been making noise about 365 and we've been able to ride that wave.
"We've never had a customer come back to us saying they don't want to do it because Telstra is involved or complain to us about it."
Calvert said the reach that Telstra has in the market has been good for getting Office 365 off the ground, and has helped his business expand its reach into the Northern Territory market.
"We will start selling it direct, but if Telstra opens us up an opportunity, I will work with them. I'm not going to shaft and cut them out," he said. "What I'm saying to the Telstra accounting execs we work with is not to be fearful of bringing opportunities to us, because I want that continue.
"I'm not going to bite the hand that feeds me. It's a question of integrity and you want to do the right thing by people that are wanting to support and work with you."
Since the Office 365 launch, it has become $US1.5 billion business for Microsoft, becoming the fastest growing commercial product in its history.
To give partners more details about the new licenses, Microsoft is putting on a Partner Summit across Melbourne (Oct 9 -10), Adelaide (Oct 14 - 15), Perth (Oct 21 -22), Sydney (Oct 28 -29) and Brisbane (Oct 31 and Nov 1).