Microsoft Stuns Channel at Cebit Conference

Channel sites are abuzz today with news from Microsoft at Germany's Cebit show.

Apparently, the vendor is now going to make available to all customers beta versions of SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange. Previously, Microsoft had sold these directly to enterprise users, but cut the channel in on SMB sales. It's difficult to know what Microsoft is thinking here (except that it sees a great opportunity to take more business direct via the Web).This could set the stage for some serious channel conflict. Our InternetNews sister site has the Reuters report here.

See Ziff's take on this surprise here. CMP's ChannelWeb comment on the issue (buried at the story's end) is here. InfoWorld, meanwhile, reports that Bill Gates is busy crowing about SharePoint's growing success (probably not with the channel, I bet) at a Microsoft conference in Seattle. All, in all, a strange assortment of news from Microsoft.

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