GoDaddy touts simplicity over price as it launches Office 365 sales

Massive domain registrar inks deal with Microsoft to sell Office subscriptions

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Miller, of Directions on Microsoft, pointed out that some small business customers will pay more for a more seamless experience in linking Office 365 to their already-existing or just-purchased domains.

For its part of the deal, Microsoft gets access to GoDaddy's 12 million customers. "Microsoft is trying to find partners who are in the value chain, who already have customers they are trying to reach," said Miller of the GoDaddy arrangement, while also referring to agreements Microsoft struck with Verizon and Sprint last year.

Although financial details of the deal were not announced, Aldrich said GoDaddy gets plenty in return.

"What we have found when looking to the future in helping small businesses be successful is that we want to give the small business owner the tools they need to start to grow and run their companies," Aldrich said.

"The vast majority of our small business customers have grown up with Office on their desktops," said Aldrich when asked why GoDaddy went with Microsoft's subscription service rather than, say, Google Apps for Business. "What they want to focus on is simplicity among the services they buy, and to get more done wherever they are."

Microsoft launched its revamped Office 365 almost a year ago, with its first-ever consumer offering under that label and new plans for small businesses. Since then, the company has touted consumer uptake -- the latest was last fall when it said it had 2 million on the rolls for Office 365 Home Premium -- but has declined to give a similar number for small business and enterprise sign-ups.

"There's a reason why we're hearing most about consumers," said Miller, implying that Microsoft has had a tougher time breaking into the commercial market with its annual-fee concept. "Large businesses are really trying to understand the value proposition at this point," said Miller.

If Office 365 has been a harder sell to businesses, it's understandable why GoDaddy's millions of potential customers would look very tempting.

GoDaddy started selling its Office 365 plans today to U.S. and Canadian customers, and said it would expand the offer globally in the next three months.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at  @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is

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Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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