When IBM sold its computer division to Chinese giant Lenovo a few years ago to concentrate on hardware and software services, more than just a few eyebrows were raised. But guess what? The move paid off so well that both Lenovo and IBM are now reaping the benefits.
Microsoft, too, is doing something pioneering in India. The world's largest software firm now has a new target - India's commercial market for online services. As the world of small business embraces technology to the fullest, it is becoming clearer to both hardware and software firms that it is services that will deliver them the goods apart from just off-the-shelf software boxes.
Soon after Google launched the SMB productivity suite a few weeks ago, Microsoft launched its on Friday. Starting Saturday, the company says, "the Microsoft Online Services product family will offer Exchange Online (for e-mail) and Office SharePoint Online (portals and collaboration) separately or as a suite together with Office Live Meeting (for conferencing), Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services and Microsoft Office Communications Online (for instant messaging and presence)." Exciting times ahead for Microsoft and Google, then.