Australian Microsoft Partners to get new Office 365 licensing

Microsoft has announced new license types for the cloud suite Office 365.  It will allow SMB resellers to sell the service to their customers directly.

The new arrangements will roll out in the first half of 2014.

"I am pleased to announce that in 2014 we will bring new options including license types to market that will enable our commercial customers to purchase Office 365 in the way that best suits their needs," a Microsoft spokesperson said on Friday via a blog. 

"For the first time in Australia, Microsoft partners will also have the ability to bundle Office 365 with their existing services, ensuring customers see the service as part of their total bill from the partner," said the post, uploaded on behalf of Steven Miller, business group lead for Microsoft's Office division.

The blog post was forwarded as an email to all Microsoft partners on October 8th 2013.

It would mark a major shift from Microsoft's current partnership with Telstra for Office 365.

Australia was the only country where Microsoft had awarded a telecommunications carrier exclusive rights to sell Office 365 to businesses (larger companies with Microsoft Enterprise Agreements could buy directly).

Resellers had complained the arrangement with Telstra undermined their relationship with customers.  It meant they were unable to provide the customer a single bill for their IT services and this has been a problem for sales.

Finally this will mean Australia resellers will be able to sell and support their customers with Office 365 the same way the rest of the word does.