This hit the web a couple days ago, and I think it is a big step for Google's Enterprise App platform.
Microsoft uses the same model to sell volume license agreements to our customers. Our partners, which internally we refer to as Large Account Resellers (LARs), are a critical component of our Enterprise sales model. This model creates a great win win for us, our partners, and most importantly, our customers. Our partners can leverage their resources to create great combined solutions that bring together the strength of our software with the hardware and custom solutions that they sell. This provides the customer with a trusted 3rd party adviser that can offer them total and reliable purchasing solutions for their entire IT department. This 3rd party can than manage the customers relationship with Microsoft (signing documents and activating benefits for example), freeing up Microsoft Sales professionals to identify areas where Microsoft technologies can improve business processes, help organizations achieve their business goals and save them money.
By adopting a partner program, Google can bring the credibility and top down solution delivery capabilities of an account reseller and combine that with components of their Enterprise Application Platform that makes the most sense for that customer and at the same time focus their internal sales professionals on up sell and customer scenario opportunities.
Though I continue to believe that Google's Applications offerings are still far to untested and feature-weak to be a true Enterprise offering, this move signals that Google is becoming more serious about its Enterprise offerings and adopting proven sales models that Enterprise level customers are more comfortable with.