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Tuesday, 21 November 2006 05:57

Microsoft pushes software as a service in Europe

Microsoft has launched two initiatives in Europe that it says will help independent software vendors (ISVs) adopt the software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model: The Microsoft SaaS Incubation Centre Program and the Microsoft SaaS On-Ramp Program.

The programmes will provide ISVs with business and technical guidance, one-to-one consulting, discounted licensing for the first year and access to an established hosting channel that Microsoft claims will enable them to deliver their applications to market faster than the competition. It has given no indication of any plans to extend the programme to other regions. However it says that the SaaS On-Ramp Program, which will run from November 2006 to April 2008, is part of a global effort to attract ISVs to deliver SaaS.

"Microsoft recognises that many ISVs are hindered in delivering SaaS offerings because they lack the necessary tools and resources," said Michael Korbacher, director, EMEA Web and Application Hosting, Microsoft Communications Sector. "Microsoft can help all types of ISVs enter this industry by reducing the cost and complexity of delivering hosted software and crucially, by connecting ISVs with key distribution and operational channels such as telecoms operators and hosting providers."

The SaaS On-Ramp Program provides discounted licensing for ISVs, including a Windows Server license for up to eight central CPUs and Microsoft SQL Server license for up to two CPUs. Participating vendors will also receive all the benefits associated with Microsoft's Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA), a licensing programme that allows ISVs to license Microsoft products on a monthly subscription basis and to offer services and hosted applications to their end customers. It includes access to the latest versions of Microsoft software and the ability to grant customer demos for 60 days.

The Microsoft SaaS Incubation Centre Program will establish a number of facilities, run by Microsoft partners, where ISVs will be "guided through a structured series of business and architectural consulting sessions to ensure their business model and applications are ready for the challenges of service-based delivery."

All SaaS Incubation Centre Program partners will use the Microsoft Solution for Windows-based Hosting for Applications platform, billed as "a robust, scalable infrastructure that equips ISVs with the tools and guidance to design service-enabled software applications and facilitate user provisioning, performance monitoring, usage tracking and reporting."

NTT Europe Online and 7global, two European managed hosting companies, both Microsoft Gold Certified Partners, will each open Incubation Centres in the UK.


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