For the longest time, Microsoft has been signing up certified Microsoft Cloud Solutions Providers who are sell the full range of Azure and cloud services and control the end-to-end customer billing processes.
However, the company recently has had a change of strategy.
It will now start selling more Azure services directly starting in March.
This, the company will do so by offering billing and subscription management through its Microsoft Customer Agreement to small and medium sized businesses. SMBs will be advised to make use of the MCA to buy directly from the company both its Azure services and certain third-party products.
All of which are available in the Azure Marketplace.
Redmond did little to publicize the change, but it was officially announced through a note on its licensing page that went live on January 10.
The new MCA will get customers gain access to a single offer catalog and an 11-page simplified contract that is completely digital. New Azure agreements will be handled by the MCA, while existing ones will be eligible for rollover to the MCA when their renewal date comes up.
Microsoft bills this change as something that will make its licensing transaction process easier, more efficient and simpler.
Though this does raise concerns about how cutting out its partners with MCA will affect the partners channel. Redmond does maintain that its partners will continue to play a critical role in this new commerce model, but that will do little to quell the doubts.
Digital transformation is one thing that Redmond is hot on these days.
Going so far as to label more and more of its customers wins as partnerships, owing to the fact that it embeds its own engineers with these companies, at their own locations, to help craft and compile custom software and services.
Arrangements like these lessen the role of third-party partners significantly.
One thing is for sure that, the introduction of MCA seems to have caught many of these companies unaware — little did Microsoft do to presage this change in direction.
2019 just got a lot more interesting!