"Microsoft has named Mike Sinneck vice president of worldwide services. Sinneck, who formerly served as vice president for business operations at IBM Global Services, will be in charge of developing Microsoft’s integrated consulting services and product support."
I take that as a hint that Microsoft wants to grow services as a business unto itself, as opposed to just a sales support tool. It used to be that services where a cost center, there just because large customers required it.
Now is probably the time where they want growth through services as well. It’s not as high margin as software, and it will piss partners off. But partners saw it coming, and other players already do the direct+indirect dance. Consulting is a way to camp at customer sites and get a more strategic position within accounts. Overall, Microsoft needs to fight Oracle and IBM (and to a lesser extent HP/Compaq and Sun) on their own ground.