Microsoft and GoDaddy to lure SMBs with Office 365 promo

Target small businesses with Office platform

Office 365

Microsoft and GoDaddy announced on Monday that are forming a "longer term strategic partnership" under which the web hosting provider will pitch Office 365 to its small business customers in the U.S. and Canada.

The partnership will let small businesses buy and run bundles of Office 365 and cloud storage under their own domain name. Customers that buy Office 365 bundles will also get access to GoDaddy's 24/7 customer support.

There are three packages, the cheapest of which, Email Essentials, include3s domain-based email and document storage and is priced at $3.99 (£2.43, $AU4.42) monthly.

The other two, based on Microsoft's Small Business and Small Business Premium subscriptions, are priced at $8.99 (£5.47, $AU9.97) and $12.49 (£7.61, AU$13.85) per user per month respectively.

Perplexing

Microsoft and GoDaddy are targeting a portion of the market that until recently would have been served by Microsoft's Small Business Specialist partners, which Microsoft discontinued last year.

Spencer Ferguson, president and CEO of Wasatch I.T., a Salt Lake City-based partner, said while the Microsoft-GoDaddy partnership won't have much impact on his business, he's still "perplexed" by the move.

"While Microsoft continues to be our core vendor, I can see why solution providers are seeking alternatives," Ferguson said in an email. "It is hard to understand why Microsoft continues to make moves that alienate its OEM and VAR partners."

Another factor behind the Office 365 partnership is that GoDaddy CEO Blake Irvin spent more than 14 years at Microsoft and was vice president of the Windows Live Platform group.

"The relationship between GoDaddy and Microsoft executives certainly helped start the conversation," Steven Aldrich, senior vice president of GoDaddy, told the Seattle Times.