Microsoft has pumped $10m into US application service provider (ASP), Futurelink as part of a strategy to push Windows 2000 and Windows DNA (Distributed iNternet Architecture) 2000 into the software hosting market.
The partners will also set up a research and development lab to help software vendors build applications using Windows 2000 Terminal Services.
The companies began working together last year when FutureLink became a partner of the hosted application initiative set up by Microsoft and Cisco. FutureLink was one of the first companies to host software applications at a central web site for subscribers.
Philip Ladouceur, Futurelink chairman and chief executive, said: "The partnership will accelerate the trend towards subscription as a cost-effective approach to leveraging the latest business technology."
Thomas Koll, vice president, network solutions group at Microsoft, said: "Great technology is crucial to successful application hosting, but it is only one piece of the puzzle."
Microsoft and its strategic partners have good reason to be interested in what Forrester Research analyst, Jeanne Schaaf believes is a fast growing market. The consultancy projects that the ASP sector will grow 76 per cent annually for the next three years with the industry reaching $21bn in revenue by next year.
The Redmond giant's investment in FutureLink follows other recent stakes in ASPs Jato Communications and WinStar Communications, as well as a $10m investment in FutureLink rival Corio earlier this year.
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