Microsoft has said it does not want to become a system integrator, despite its software and services plans calling for it to host corporate infrastructure and application services.
The company’s service delivery model will rely heavily on partners to provide online services built on Microsoft offerings or to offer extension services such as customisations to Dynamics Live CRM.
Partners will host services on their own systems and offer customer support, and they will be in charge of guaranteeing service levels. Robert Krygowski, director product management at CSC, explained: “There is so much focus on the applications and the technology, but the whole service and support aspect is going to be more and more important.”
Jeff Price, senior director at Microsoft's server and tools business, said that businesses such as CSC and HP Services would be the “prime contractors” doing integrations and monitoring service level agreements. He added: “They may offer an integration of hosted Exchange from Microsoft and hosted ERP from someone else."
While Microsoft may package Exchange hosting and "attached services" like Forefront Security for Exchange Server, it is unlikely to mix in services from other providers outside of its fledgling managed services business, which is targeted at companies of over 5,000 staff.
Its plans came to lights as the company reported strong revenue growth in its last quarte, buoyed by demand for its new Vista operating system plus decent sales of SQL Server, Windows Server, Visual Studio developer tools and its Xbox 360 game console.
Revenue was up 13% year on year at $13.4bn (£6.5bn), generating profits of $3bn (£1.5bn). For the whole year, revenues topped $50bn for the first time, after growing 15% to $51.1bn (£24.9bn).
In a separate development, the European Union court considering Microsoft's appeal of a 2004 antitrust ruling concerning licensing fees has confirmed it will issue a verdict on September 17.