Can partners profit from Microsoft Office 365 cloud services? I've been asking that question ever since Microsoft (symbol: MSFT) launched Office 365 in June 2011. Fast forward to the present and I'm finally adjusting my views on Office 365 and recurring cloud revenues.

As you may recall, partners that resell Office 365 earn 12 percent of revenues plus 6 percent on renewals. That's 18 percent margin in year-one and 6 percent in future years. And therein resides the challenge: Some partners say those margins are too low -- especially when Office 365 starts at $6 per user per month. On the flip side, Microsoft has stated -- ever since Office 365's launch -- that the real partner revenue opportunity involves consulting services.