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Big guns form Citrix-inspired ASP group

But marketing's dodgy acronym detectors fail - it's called ASPIC, so could prove wobbly

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Citrix Systems seems to have rounded itself up an impressive posse of members for a new "international advocacy group" intended to promote and define standards for application service provision. The Application Service Provider Industry Consortium acronymises itself as ASP Industry Consortium, funnily enough - presumably you can't change standards once you've got them in ASPIC. Citrix will of course deny any leadership here, protesting that all of the members of the server-based computing industry should work together as equals. But Citrix holds the chair of, er, ASPIC. Other major movers and shakers among the first 25 members include AT&T, Cisco, Compaq, IBM, Sun, and UUNET. Both Oracle and Microsoft are absentees, although Great Plains Software, which did some testifying for Microsoft a while back, is in there. ASPIC itself is important in the long term because the Application Service Provider route is a logical one to take after ISPs. Existing ISPs can add value to their offerings by giving users access to remote applications, and new entrants can offer access to large scale apps via data centres. As yet, there's not a lot of it about, but a few Citrix partners (for example Telecomputing, also in ASPIC) are already doing some business. The interest of most of the companies mentioned above is understandable. Microsoft itself has plans along ASP type lines, but naturally they're different. Bill Gates envisages giving users BackOffice access across the Web, and offering backup and storage for rent, but he'll do this the Microsoft way, if it happens. Oracle too is on the case with Business Online, which it's piloting in conjunction with Sun - so will it join? The complete membership at launch was as follows: AT&T; AristaSoft Corp., Boundless Technologies, Inc.; Cisco Systems, Inc.; Citrix Systems, Inc.; Compaq Computer Corporation; Cylex Systems, Inc., Ernst & Young LLP; Exodus, Inc.; FutureLink Distribution Corp.; GTE; Great Plains Software (NASDAQ: GPSI); IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM); Interpath Communications, Inc.; JAWS Technologies Inc.; Marimba, Inc.; Onyx Software Corp.; SaskTel; Sharp Electronics Corp.; Sun Microsystems, Inc.; The Taylor Group; Telecomputing ASA; UUNET; Verio, Inc.; Wyse Technology. ®

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