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Microsoft: We will cut partners in on our hosted infrastructure services

The word wafting around the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference is that the company will at last outline partner rebate/commission structure for those partners bringing customers to Microsoft-hosted solutions including the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite. BPOS consists of Microsoft-hosted SharePoint and Exchange Server and other services for small businesses, introduced last winter.

The incentives are thought to be less than the 10% fee Microsoft offers partners for bringing customers into the Microsoft-hosted CRM Online but would at least indicate that Microsoft plans to cut partners in on the action.

BPOS is Microsoft’s SMB analogy to the hosted services it has already brought to large companies including Energizer Holdings LLC.

Another big question is whether Microsoft will finally address the big hosted ERP question. As in, will Microsoft host ERP itself anytime in the near future? The company has gone back and forth on that one for some time.

Early returns from some partners converging on Houston. First, one longtime Microsoft partner was very gruntled (is that a word? If not it should be) about the company’s choice of venue. “How do you show your partners love? Drag them to Houston after the fourth of July weekend,” he said.

Here’s another unintended message: Flipping around the hotel TV, one channel has played nothing but a “Windows 98 is shutting down” splash screen for a day now. Things could be worse: It could be Vista.

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