Microsoft thinks outside the box

Software giant responds to boom in online buying patterns with new subscription agendas
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As the number of consumers and businesses opting to buy online continues to grow, Microsoft has launched a new set of strategies to help its customers respond to the changing climate.

Having launched the Microsoft Partner Network (designed to help Microsoft reseller partners communicate with each other and cooperate on sales) and Microsoft Pinpoint (which also links partners with customers), the firm is readying itself for the shift in online buying to become more pronounced.

"Irrespective of whether it's software or not, generally things are going more online," said Clare Barclay, director of partner programmes and strategies at Microsoft UK.

"If you think about the way you buy things you'll see it's just the way things are going. One of the things that is changing and evolving quite rapidly since the internet became more prolific is that customers are looking to consume software in quite a different way.

Our traditional software, whether that's packaged or licensed software, is currently growing somewhere between six and twelve per cent, yet the appetite for customers to buy online services – software through a subscription – is growing more rapidly than that.

At the moment Gartner is predicting that by 2011 about 25 per cent of new business software will be delivered as a service. So for our channel and for Microsoft we have to make sure we can respond to that and make sure we can deliver software in new ways."

However the firm denies that it would ever remove boxed products from its business model entirely.

"The way Microsoft sees it is that there will always be a mix," continued Barclay. "Customers will continue to have a blend, and the offerings we're putting out is about providing that choice."

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