I realize plenty of VARs and MSPs plan to embrace Office 365, Microsoft's forthcoming cloud successor to BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite). But there's a vocal segment of VARs and MSPs that plan to compete -- fiercely -- against Office 365 for a range of reasons.

In recent weeks, I've heard from dozens -- yes, dozens -- of VARs and MSPs that are drawing up battle plans ahead of Office 365, which is expected to debut July 1 or sooner. Microsoft's low-cost cloud suite will include Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and a SaaS version of Microsoft Office. Pricing will start at $6 per user in a small business. (Here's an Office 365 FAQ with more background.)

Some Microsoft channel partners see opportunities ahead (in fact, here's a list of Microsoft's top 10 U.S. solutions providers embracing BPOS and Office 365). Also, many of our Talkin' Cloud 50 survey participants are Microsoft BPOS channel partners. But I'm getting calls -- daily -- from readers seeking to network with other readers, forming potential alliances across the U.S. to promote alternatives to Office 365.