"Don't worry, it will happen." Microsoft's enterprise partner group director Jane Huxley appears certain in her resolve.
The channel is undergoing a fundamental change as a result of the Internet, and Huxley believes one day some Microsoft customers will become partners.
"In the .Net world, there are a whole bunch of people who are customers who become partners," she explained.
Speaking to ARN at Com Tech's Forum X conference in Coolum last week, Huxley said the most obvious companies to fall into this category are telcos like Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.
However, other customers that may become resellers or partners include government organisations like local councils.
She explained traditional lines between customer, channel and IT vendor will continue to blur.
It's a subject that's causing Huxley to think seriously about how Microsoft will manage its global go to market model in the future with customers as partners.
In addition to changing telco and government organisation business models, Huxley sees ASPs as facilitators of much of that change. However, there will be a significant shakeout in the market before the ideal ASP model emerges. In applying the tag "WASP" or Wannabe ASPs", Huxley said an estimated 700 companies in the space will whittle away by up to 70 per cent before the remaining core become effective.
And those ASPs that are effective will have an intelligent approach to CRM, ERP, financial and manufacturing solutions. Naturally for Microsoft, it will have it's own foot in the door. "We think the killer app for us is messaging, particularly with Exchange 2000," she said.