Office Live Workspace furthers partner opportunity

Microsoft Canada announced the release of Office Live Workspace as a beta version available for the first time in Canada. The service, according to a Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) (spokesperson, offers partners plenty of opportunities to further add-value and additional applications around Microsoft Office.

Office Live Workspace is a free, Web-based service that acts as an extension to Microsoft Office that targets users in home, education, as well as business environments. Using this online service, users can easily set up personal workspaces where they can save, share and access documents and various Office files with other users and groups. All that’s needed to use Office Live Workspace is a computer, Internet connection and a Windows Live ID username and password. Microsoft insists the service is as easy as just signing up and using since no downloads are required to set it up.

As a part of Microsoft’s software plus services strategy, Jason Brommet, senior product market manager for Microsoft Office Information Worker Group at Microsoft Canada, said Office Live Workspace gives customers the choice of how they access their information. What’s great about the service, he said, is that the free online workspace comes with 500MB of storage, which allows for many documents to be saved for collaboration and viewing purposes.

“Office Live Workspace lets users have anywhere access to their information regardless of where they’re located,” Brommet said. “They can also share documents with their fellow peers and users can also extend their existing Office experience to work with other personal scenarios,” he added.

As of now, since Office Live Workspace is still in its beta phase, Brommet said channel partners who will most likely benefit from its Canadian release are OEMs and retail partners.

“It gives partners another (way) to have conversations with their customers to extend the Office experience to go online especially for home and student and small business users,” he said. “Office Live Workspace will really help drive the value of the purchase of Office.”

Steven Fitzgerald, president of Vancouver-based Habanero Consulting Group, an IT service and solutions consulting firm and also a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, has been using Office Live Workspace for a few weeks now.

“Office Live Workspace is great for the user experience because it allows users to collaborate documents,” Fitzgerald said. “A powerful tool like this is primarily used for a heterogeneous environment where collaboration is needed with people outside of your enterprise.”

He continues to say this new service to Canada is a great tool for them to be able to add to their existing tool kit. Habanero, he said is currently leveraging Office Live Workspace, to create mash up work.

“We’re doing mash up work with live services from Live Earth to chat to different functionalities with Live API (Application Programming Interface),” Fitzgerald said.

In addition, Brommet said Microsoft will continue to evaluate other partner opportunities where Office Live Workspace can help leverage existing customer scenarios. He points to other partners such as ISVs and SIs, who he said, can combine Office Live Workspace in mash ups and who can also build applications that will extend these collaborative capabilities even further.

“Office Live Workspace is an exciting product that’s now available in Canada,” Brommet said. “It’s a way for partners to extend their reach, find net new customers and for resell opportunities of Office.”

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
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