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BackOffice Available by Subscription

In what seems to be a major endorsement for the application service provider (ASP) trend, Microsoft Corp. will be offering subscriptions to its BackOffice suite of products through distributor FutureLink Distribution Corp. (www.futurelink.net).

Fees for accessing the server farm will be provided through Subscription Access Licenses (SALs) which will give access for the term of the subscription which FutureLink reports can be as little as a month to as long as a year.

Cameron Chell, FutureLink CEO, says the move is a pivotal development in the ASP industry. "This will have far-reaching effects throughout the entire industry, most notably, the ease of use with which people will be able to access software," says Chell.

The ASP industry has seen major developments in recent weeks including plans from Intel Corp. to build several server farms throughout the world to an ASP Consortium being announced at Networld+Interop last month.

Based in Calgery, Alberta, FutureLink provides applications hosting, IT outsourcing and business practices consulting for its customers. Partnering with Microsoft will undoubtedly provide the company some notoriety in the United States. "Essentially, this will give us the flexibility to price our subscription-based offerings more competitively, reduce our capital requirements to build infrastructure and allow us to accommodate short-term users," explains Colin Curwen, director of sales for FutureLink. -- Brian Ploskina

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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