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MS and the ASP business – Maritz memory fails again

The lad seems to have entirely forgotten the strategy MS has been developing all this year...

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Here's a puzzle. Paul Maritz has been holding forth to VNU Newswire at TechEd Europe about application service providers (ASPs) and says Microsoft is only involved in the ASP business insofar as Hotmail, which he says outsources email for 50 million people, can be counted in the ASP class. But the good Paul seems to have entirely forgotten this. In January Microsoft introduced the Internet Connector Licence for Windows NT Terminal Server. This, for a budget $9,999, allows 200 concurrent anonymous connections to a Terminal Server host. It's an application service provision facilitator, right? It doesn't of course resolve licence questions regarding the applications these anonymous connections get access to, but it does point towards early resolution, if that's what the relevant software company wants to achieve. Another one Paul seems to have forgotten is MS' application hosting deals last month with Verio and Concentric Networks. Memory lapses during trial witness duty don't seem to have abated, it appears. Maritz seems to have said Microsoft won't be offering on-demand apps "until the software industry clarifies" pricing issues - bit of a first this, if it means Microsoft intends to let the rest of the software industry decide what prices Microsoft will charge. But here's another puzzle. One of the applications Microsoft might go for first, he says, could be email, where he says Microsoft is already an ASP via Hotmail. But Hotmail is free, so what email service would it be that Microsoft might charge for? Something associated with the Platinum version of Exchange, perhaps? A cruel observer might suggest Microsoft doesn't want to help kick-start the ASP business until it has Platinum and WebStore to kick-start Microsoft revenues with it. More info on this here, if you're interested. And here's today's final puzzle. According to the VNU story, in May Microsoft "joined 50 other vendors as part of the ASP Industry Consortium, a group planning to drive standards for the ASP business." Presumably this information came from Microsoft, because although it might be sort of true, it leaves some stuff out. Microsoft wasn't a founder member of ASP, but on June 22 was announced by the organisation as one of 31 new members who'd joined since formation on May 11. Small point, or did Microsoft realise its mistake? ®

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