Microsoft prices ASP model

Details of Microsoft's US pricing structure for application service providers (ASPs) hosting its software have been leaked.

Details of Microsoft's US pricing structure for application service providers (ASPs) hosting its software have been leaked.

Caroline Davis


Microsoft will charge ASPs for monthly per-user Subscriber Access Licenses (SALs) and some products will be available on a per-processor basis as well.

Monthly charges for Windows Advanced Server will be $569 (£380) per processor and $999 (£667) for SQL Server per processor. The per-user licence fee for Exchange Knowledge Worker Pro, a cut down version of Exchange, will be $6.99 (£4.66). Microsoft declined to comment on the details.

Peter Bell, ASP group manager at Microsoft in the UK, said the European pricing model would be announced on 1 September. "European prices will be slightly different to US prices because of currency fluctuations," he said.

"Microsoft has introduced software subscription for customers as an alternative to software purchasing. We will be neutral in terms of pricing and stance, offering parallel pricing," Bell added.

However, the company plans to allow large customers with volume licensing agreements to buy their licences as usual, then move them to an ASP.

Microsoft sees the use of ASPs as a stepping stone to the software-as-a-service plan outlined in its .net strategy earlier this year which it expects to have in place in five to seven years.

ASP Netstore has been hosting Microsoft's Exchange as part of a one year trial. Jeff Maynard, Netstore's chairman, said Microsoft's pricing used the same model as that in the trial but the prices were different. It charges £19.95 per user per month for a fully-inclusive Exchange service and plans to offer Office 10 in the future. In July, Futurelink announced an Office service priced at £79 per user per month.

Although Netstore has many clients, the largest of which is Cisco with 12,000 users, Maynard says the company still does not have enough real experience to know whether the service is correctly priced.

Simon Moores, chairman of the Research Group, said that until Microsoft and its ASP partners can clearly explain the cost benefits, it will be very hard for businesses to make up their minds. "The ASP model is attractive, but all sides need to illustrate the costs clearly to business," he said. "Really this is a business proposition, not IT. Users need to know about licensing, business benefits and total cost of ownership."

Meanwhile, Microsoft is fleshing out is .net strategy, which aims to bring the user applications and services across the Internet or over an extranet.

It has appointed Bob Muglia to head up the newly formed .net services group within the company.

Microsoft will announce a family of servers, which will form the platform for its vision for the future, at the end of September.


Forthcoming Microsoft servers

New servers that will be announced at the Enterprise 2000 launch in September:


  • Datacenter 2000: high-end enterprise operating system


  • SQL Server 2000: database


  • Exchange 2000: e-mail, messaging, scheduling and collaboration platform


  • Biztalk Server 2000: XML based development platform for application integration within and between organisations


  • Commerce Server 2000: infrastructure for e-commerce


  • Application Centre 2000: deployment and management tool for high-availability Web applications


  • Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000: security and scalability for Web applications


  • Host Integration Server 2000: connects legacy systems to Web




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