Within a year, the Redmond, Wash.-based company plans to offer hosted implementations of SharePoint as well as CRM and ERP applications, several sources said.
A handful of service partners now host Microsoft applications for customers; the difference is future customers could choose Microsoft or a partner to run the infrastructure.
Microsoft declined to comment on specific hosting plans. However, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates hinted at the strategy in an interview with CRN last month.
"SharePoint today runs primarily on premises. We have some partners who are doing hosted SharePoint. We are looking at what our role is in helping people with SharePoint,” Gates said Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles. “So technologically, the server equals service thing year by year is making good progress."