Microsoft Kicks Off Next Wave of Application Hosting Programs

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 13, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced general availability of its Complete Commerce program for Application Service Providers (ASPs). Launched as a pilot project in November 1998 with 10 service providers, it has since expanded to 25 service providers. The program is now available to any service provider seeking a full solution for hosting outsourced business-to-consumer direct selling commerce solutions for medium and large enterprises. Complete Commerce is just one example of numerous new and expanded relationships with industry-leading ASPs to further validate customer and technical requirements for outsourced business software from Microsoft as well as other popular Microsoft® Windows® based applications from independent software vendors (ISVs).

Building on a series of partnerships, equity investments and pilots established over the last year, many of these Application Service Providers are now offering additional application hosting services, including managed Microsoft Exchange messaging, Office 2000 collaboration, corporate purchasing, media streaming and line of business application services on the Windows NT® Server platform. The Application Service Providers involved with the trials of
“Central Park”
technology are looking for a scalable, easy-to-administer infrastructure for hosting any Windows-based application. In addition, further trials of network-based directory services using Active Directory TM directory service and business process integration services built on BizTalk TM Server are planned for later this year.

“We are seeing a lot of demand from customers for applications hosting on the Windows NT platform to save on total cost of ownership,”
said Steve Ballmer, president, Microsoft.
“Microsoft has been engaged in a variety of commercial licensing, certification and application service deployment pilot projects over the last year to better understand market requirements across a variety of applications and customer needs. Based on this learning, several of these projects are now moving to the next phase or into full production.”

Because there is no single solution that spans the myriad of applications, small to enterprise customer needs and e-business models, Microsoft is pursuing a generalized platform approach for hosting in anticipation that software will be offered within a service. This platform will offer a new generation of programmable Web services in which software, regardless of where it is hosted, can work with other applications and services.

Web Hosting Services Offer Richer Capabilities

The most popular hosting scenario today is the hosting of Web sites. As sites evolve into more sophisticated Web services, Web hosting promises to expand to offer a richer set of capabilities including e-commerce, business process integration and programmability. Today, Microsoft is working with companies such as WebJump, which provides commercial-quality Web hosting solutions for businesses and individuals. WebJump hosts over 512,000 Web sites, each with a fully qualified domain name, on Windows NT. This represents over 5 percent of the Web sites on the Internet, as tracked by Netcraft ( ).

Complete Commerce Program Targets Medium-Sized, Large Businesses

The Complete Commerce program enables ASPs to host scalable, highly customizable transaction services for medium and large businesses. Participants in the program include Concentric Network, DataReturn, Digex, Exodus, GTE Internetworking, USInternetworking, Interliant, MCIWorldCom, NaviSite, US Web and Qwest Cyber.Solutions. ASPs can download a deployment kit from that includes necessary materials to market service and operational procedures to launch hosted commerce services. Later this fall, additional deployment kits will be available for line-of-business, knowledge management, corporate purchasing, customer relationship management, and financial management.

Extranets and Business Partner Networks

In January 1998, Microsoft launched a pilot project to create a platform to infrastructure underlie a global Business Partner Network (BPN) for the purpose of securely conducting business with industry partners around the world via the Internet. Microsoft utilized the capabilities of the Microsoft Windows NT Server and the Microsoft BackOffice® family to meet a broad range of business requirements. Microsoft worked with GTE Internetworking (GTE-I) to implement this Business Partner Network – today, it provides robust, secure communications, collaboration, and application hosting for business partners worldwide. Originally deployed to improve Microsoft’s communications and collaboration with localization partners around the world, the Microsoft Business Partner Network now supports over 600 business partners, 6,000 individual users, 2,000 projects and 200 individual hosted applications. The platform for this project is code-named
“Central Park”
and provides general services for any Windows-based application deployed in a hosted environment, such as delegated administration, help desk integration and comprehensive logging and eventing.

Microsoft is now entering commercial trials of
“Central Park”
with application service providers, customers and their specific trading communities of interest to host their unique business partner network services.
“Central Park”
offers customers the ability to deploy Web sites, custom applications and line of business hosted services for communicating and collaborating with their business partners in a secure, reliable and hosted environment. The
“Central Park”
system is accessible by business partners from anywhere in the world, using secure VPN connections.

Microsoft joined with GTE Internetworking and Qwest Cyber.Solutions to establish commercial trials of
“Central Park.”
GTE Internetworking, a unit of GTE Corp., offers customers, from consumers to Fortune 500 companies, a full spectrum of integrated Internet services using IP networking technologies. GTE-I has been working with Microsoft on implementing and hosting
“Central Park”
for Microsoft for over 18 months.

Windows NT and Exchange Hosting

Windows NT is also being used to host networked application services for customers. Equant, which operates the world’s largest data network in terms of global coverage, offers hosting solutions on Windows NT that can be accessed for business-to-business use as well as by software vendors anywhere in the world. Equant also offers a fully managed Microsoft Exchange messaging solution, where Equant houses and manages the applications utilized on a worldwide basis by Global 1000 businesses. Equant’s customers require a centralized, hosted collaboration and communications platform. One of Equant’s customers currently has 8,000 Exchange users in 135 countries, with plans to expand to 12,000 users by next year.

Qwest Cyber.Solutions (QC.S, the leading ASP joint-venture of Qwest Communications International Inc. and KPMG) today offers managed application hosting of SAP R/3 and Siebel on Microsoft Windows NT Server and Microsoft SQL Server TM that can be integrated by QC.S with
“Central Park”
services. Qwest Communications International Inc., QC.S’s parent company, will soon be launching the first commercially offered VPN service based on the Windows 2000 operating system, whose Active Directory services will add key enhancements to
“Central Park”
services. Qwest last week was named as the first participant worldwide in Microsoft’s Commercial Network Services Provider certification pilot. Microsoft plans to expand the
“Central Park”
trial, adding additional hosting partners as the market for hosted application services develops.

Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT, Active Directory, BizTalk and BackOffice are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

Related Posts