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C&W unveils hosting package to tempt US buyers

The US arm of Cable & Wireless is to launch a "business-ready" hosting service in an attempt to shore up its customer base for potential buyers, three months after it revealed its intention to quit the US web hosting market.

The hosting package includes collocation data centre services as well as connectivity, security, and data backup and restoration capabilities, said Jason Weisberger, vice president of product management and partner development at C&W's US division in San Francisco.

The package will also gather all of C&W's primary services into a single bundle.

In June, C&W announced it was pulling out of the US market after admitting it was losing $1m a day here. C&W, which in November began concentrating on large multinational companies, continues to seek a buyer for its remaining operations.

When asked how C&W officials expected corporate users to react to the new service in light of the sell-off plans, Weisberger said, "We'll see how people will respond to it. Right now, we're not concerned."

Adam Lavine, chief executive officer of wireless messaging applications supplier FunMail and a C&W customer since 2000, has already signed on to buy the services bundle to get all the hosting capabilities he needs under one contract.

"We were willing to give them a try," Lavine said. So far, C&W's plans have not affected either the customer service or the network reliability it provides to FunMail. "I would have to think they're motivated to do a good job here," Lavine noted.

The services bundle could help C&W retain customers while it tries to find a buyer for its US operations, said Melanie Posey, an IDC analyst. "They have to maintain the business they have to eventually sell it to somebody else."

Laurie McCabe, an analyst at Summit Strategies, said C&W is in danger of sending potential customers mixed messages. "It's not that hard to find a hosting provider with similar services, so why would you go with someone who's waffling?" she said. "You want to feel like the vendor is in it for the long haul."

Laurie Probst, vice president of marketing in the US at C&W, confirmed that the services are designed to entice buyers. "It's our job to retain the value of this company," she said.

Todd R Weiss writes for Computerworld


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