Bharti Airtel will deliver Microsoft’s cloud based Office 365 business productivity solutions to Small and Medium Businesses by provisioning the service through its cloud platform.

Under the agreement, Airtel will be able to power  SMBs with  access to Microsoft Office 365, addressing their connectivity and productivity requirements while allowing them to focus on their core business activities.  Office 365 along with Airtel’s DSL and Internet Leased Ports/Lines (ILP) services will empower SMBs with the option to create a public facing website with their own domain name, access to the latest releases from Office 365, state-of-the art anti-virus & anti-spam solutions, and most importantly anytime, anywhere access to documents and emails, with best experience delivered on smart phones using Airtel’s network.airtel_MS_partnership

“The partnership will allow us to become a virtual CIO for our SMB customers. According to industry estimates there is a growing affinity towards technology adoption in this segment and their IT spending is surging at a rate of 15% per year. SMB segment has shown a high adoption of Cloud computing especially SaaS – which contributes more than 50% to the overall cloud market. With our superior network experience and Microsoft’s dependable technology suite we will be able to offer cost effective and secure cloud services in a high growth SaaS market.” [Sanjay Kapoor, CEO – India & South Asia, Bharti Airtel]

In 2008, Airtel was planning a similar service and was in talks with Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, Google and Jamcracker to offer different applications on a pay-per-use or software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. The company even partnered with Google to enable Google Apps for Airtel’s broadband customers, but the partnership, it seems was called off later.

Airtel had also partnered with Nivio and Microsoft to launch online PC in India, but it seems partnership couldn’t see the light of the day (too early for the market?). Nivio however launched its online PC in India in March, 2012 after raising $21mn from Videocon and AEC Partner.

As far as Microsoft is concerned, the company has grabbed a few big customers for its cloud based offering (Microsoft Grabs Delhi Public School and others for its Cloud offering), Live@Edu. The company will power 10,000 technical colleges and institutes throughout India as part of its partnership with AICTE.

Recommended Report : Microsoft study claims that 52% of SMBS found it easier to scale business, post cloud adoption