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Microsoft preps for business services push

The software maker plans early next month to say what "software plus services" really means for individual workers, small businesses and corporations.

Ina Fried Former Staff writer, CNET News
During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley.
Ina Fried
2 min read

After months talking about the notion of software plus services, Microsoft is apparently ready to get a bit more specific on the business side of things.

Early next month, Business Division President Jeff Raikes is expected to outline what the company has in mind from services for individual workers to small businesses all the way through the largest enterprises.

The "software plus services" term has become nearly ubiquitous in company PowerPoint presentations, but the details are often left unstated. There is a definite effort to add services to almost everything Microsoft does. But while the company has gotten fairly concrete about some of its consumer efforts, many of its business plans have been less clear.

Microsoft has already launched a series of Office Live services for small businesses, though CEO Steve Ballmer hinted at Microsoft's July partner conference that the company has a broader vision for the Office Live moniker. Ballmer said that the company would soon rebrand the current tools with a small business label and add Office Live services for individuals. At the same conference, COO Kevin Turner said that Office Live has the potential in the coming years to be one of the three or four most used Microsoft products, again suggesting a more expansive role.

The company has also talked about plans for hosted CRM and hosted services for Exchange. The company has also been working for a couple years now on an effort known as Microsoft Managed Services, in which Microsoft handles desktop management. The project has thus far centered on a couple of customers--notably Energizer Holdings and XL Capital--but Microsoft has talked about broadening that service out in the near future.