InfoWorld reported earlier today that Microsoft is partnering with Bharti Airtel, a large Indian telecommunications service provider, to offer hosted software and services for India’s small and medium businesses (SMBs).
The services, hosted and managed by Delhi-based Bharti Airtel, are expected to be available in January and will be targeted predominantly at companies with five or more employees.
At first, Microsoft and Bharti Airtel will offer basic hosted services such as e-mail, calendaring, and scheduling, but subsequently they also intend to roll out applications such as CRM (customer relationship management), accounting, ERP (enterprise resource planning), and some applications from Microsoft software partners.
Apparently, the pricing model for the services hasn’t been defined.
India and other parts of the developing world will present interesting opportunities for Google, if it can establish the right partnerships, to deliver web-based applications to small- and medium-size businesses. It’s no surprise the Microsoft is attempting to preclude the threat.