Microsoft recently inked a deal with MasterCard which entails the company joining Microsoft’s Office 365 program. This means MasterCard will provide a 10 percent savings to eligible small business cardholders when they purchase Office 365 through the MasterCard Easy Savings Program.
What caused great interest to me however was the list of other companies participating in the program such as Avis, Budget, Bing, Firestone, DHL, Continental Airlines, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, the US Postal Service and Harry & David. So Microsoft Office 365 has joined the ranks of consumer companies such as Firestone and Harry & David – yes, the gift basket company.
If this doesn’t mean that the cloud is mainstream, I am not sure what does.
Another thought is that the main competitor here is Google, a company with virtually limitless remnant advertising space via its market-leading search engine.
It is worth pointing out that Microsoft is a marketing machine and when they devote themselves to taking over a market they are generally relentless.
We’ll see if this move does much to move the needle in the direction of Redmond in the cloud wars. Personally I see it as a small part of a grand strategy to overwhelm customers with Microsoft’s cloud-based office, UC and other solutions. After all, Office is a cash cow – Microsoft can’t afford to cede it to Google.