Calling All Partners: Microsoft Office Live

Microsoft’s Office Live is Microsoft’s Gateway into providing small businesses with hosted applications that compliment Microsoft Office. This is primarily a direct play from Microsoft direct to the small businesses – with no intervention needed from partners. However, there are opportunities for partners that Microsoft announced at its partner conference last week.
See what I’ve covered about Office Live, up to now, here.
Microsoft Office Live developer platform.
Based on research and feedback from partners that participated in the Early Adopter Program, Office Live has further invested in the technical platform and resources to support partners during the training and development cycles.
As Microsoft relies on software developers to extend the ecosystem of Windows, it is building the same strategy for Office Live. Expect Microsoft to develop its own apps for Office Live, but it will also need developers to create more apps to add increased value to the platform.
Microsoft Office Live Marketplace.
The recently unveiled Microsoft Office Live Marketplace enables developers to market their solutions and services to more than 400,000 existing customers and prospective customers and promote their unique offerings. Microsoft Office Live features more than 50 offerings worldwide in the marketplace and hopes to expand that number over the next year.
Stealing a page from Intuit’s Quickbooks marketplace, Microsoft is offering a way for partners to not only create add-ons for Office Live, but also to SELL them to customers. If Office Live grows, this marketplace will grow as well.
Greater access to Microsoft Office Live customers.
Beginning in January 2008, Microsoft Office Live will extend the solution and service platform capabilities to the complete Microsoft Office Live customer base of more than 400,000 customers that use the advertising-supported and subscription-based products.
Microsoft Office Live Affiliate Network Pilot.
A new affiliate program will be available to Small Business Specialist Community partners as well as Microsoft Certified Partners and Microsoft Gold Certified Partners in 2008, allowing them to share in Microsoft Office Live subscription revenue and advertising spending by referring new customers.
Some Microsoft partners don’t want to hand-hold their customers, but prefer to simply to lead generation and recommend their customers sign up for Office Live. They now have an incentive and can get a cut of sale.