It's interesting that Microsoft has approached Open Licensing for Microsoft Azure well before the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in July instead of using the event to make the announcement. WPC, held in Washington, DC this year, will bring together 12,000-15,000 partners in its yearly attempt to prove to the world that Microsoft isn't trying to do things on their own and that there's still value in actually being a partner. And, maybe that's why the announcement comes so early. There has been a steadily growing murmur among Microsoft's partners worried that Microsoft's push to the Public Cloud is starting to decimate their selling options and revenue since subscription-based services means all cash flows to Microsoft. Partners feel like they're being shoved into one of those phone booth-looking money machines that blow dollar bills all around with only seconds to grab as much money as possible.

You might remember, last year prior to 2013's WPC, partners were voicing similar concerns over Office 365 revenue opportunities.

Partners are not the only crowd worried that Microsoft is trying to take all the revenue and shut everyone else out. TechEd 2014, meant primarily for IT Pros, saw a lackluster attempt at easing fears that Microsoft is attempting to take over and self-manage companies' datacenters.

Prior to this announcement, Microsoft only offered two options for purchasing Microsoft Azure and those were through either the Azure web site as part of an Enterprise Agreement (EA). Obviously, the two options available provided no value for Microsoft partners. With the new Open Licensing option, partners can now take advantage of Microsoft Azure to build revenue streams.

The Microsoft Azure option will become available to the channel on August 1, 2014 through its Open Licensing program, less than 3 weeks after WPC 2014 closes.

Phil Sorgen, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Partner Group, explains the basics in the following video: