Seeking Market DifferentiationBy Jessica Davis | 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."