Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations - Eric Ligman

Eric Ligman, Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations Blog

Where can I find out more about SPLA (hosting) and Software + Services?

The world of hosting and Software + Services is getting more and more attention as the interest and demand for this type of delivery model continues to increase. Because of this, there has been more and more interest from many Partners about this model, which then leads to the conversation around SPLA (Service Provider Licensing Agreement), which is our hosted licensing model.

Some of you may recall my post last year, just after Worldwide Partner Conference, when several SBSC Partners were beginning to ask about how to deliver Microsoft software on rented equipment which the Partner owned but was deployed at a customer’s site, and SPLA was the answer. Now, with more solutions being delivered in a hosted model (Windows Server, SBS Server, Exchange, CRM, etc.), this delivery model is opening up many new opportunities for customers, Partners, and Microsoft.

One question we have received is, “How do you see software being delivered moving forward and what is Microsoft’s vision for the image hosting industry?” With any new shift in the way things are delivered and offered in the market, there is always a healthy mix in how clients look to these models and how they look to consume them within their organizations. Within this mix, there can even be a hybrid of these within a single organization as well. The three delivery methods we see in the way solutions will be consumed and delivered are: 1) On Premise, 2) Hosted by Partners, and 3) Hosted by Microsoft.  Within each of these exists the opportunity for Microsoft Partners to build or expand their engagement and revenue opportunities.

On premise is the way Microsoft solutions have been delivered for decades and continue to be offered and delivered today. This model includes the acquisition of the software licenses, either perpetually through programs like the Open License or Open Value programs, or in a subscription model, such as the Open Value Subscription program, and then deployed onsite at the client’s location on their devices.

Hosted by Partners involves software solutions being provided from a Partner’s infrastructure that they operate and maintain and then delivered, generally online, to a customer’s location through a service level agreement and subscription based program. This is the SPLA or hosted licensing model.

Hosted by Microsoft is very similar to the hosted by Partners model, except that the infrastructure is operated and maintained by Microsoft. Examples include Microsoft Office™ Live Small Business, Microsoft Online Services, Windows Live™ Virtual Earth and the upcoming Microsoft Dynamics™ CRM Live. In this model, Microsoft S+S solution provider partners utilize monetization opportunities that include subscription fees for provider-developed solutions that are built on top of Microsoft-hosted services, on-premise integration services, and referral and reseller fees charged to customers who use those services.

You can find out much more about Microsoft’s vision for the hosting industry in the “Next Generation Hosting – the Microsoft Vision for the Hosting Industry” white paper that we published in addition to these other resources:

SPLA Licensing site, which includes resources such as:


Hosted Solutions Overview site, which includes information on:


Software + Services Marketing Best Practices Site, which includes information on:


  • Messaging & Positioning

  • Competitive Differentiation

  • Packaging & Pricing

  • And more…

Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric Ligman
Microsoft US Senior Manager
Small Business Community Engagement
This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights

Add to Technorati Favorites