Seeking Market Differentiation

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

Many feared that Microsoft's own entry into the space would hurt the emerging business, but some providers say it draws attention to the possibility of outsourcing your e-mail server.

Adding such specialty services is an approach Essner recommends to other channel partners looking to differentiate themselves in the emerging but competitive market for hosted applications. 

Hosted applications providers are also looking to the slowing economy and tight IT budgets to accelerate sales.

"IT buyers want to transfer the risks of big software purchases to a hosted monthly solution," Essner says.

And as for Microsoft's entrance into the market having a negative affect on other hosted Microsoft Exchange providers – well, it hasn't happened yet, at least not for Intermedia.

"So far we haven't competed with Microsoft for an account," Essner said. "As far as I know Microsoft has only got one or two big accounts, and hasn't started going after the market en mass yet."

Whether that will continue remains to be seen.

"Every company has a tricky balance in managing and mitigating channel conflict," Essner says. "I can only hope Microsoft will continue to be true to their channel partners. We value our relationship with them."

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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