Microsoft today lifted the lid off its latest hosted software offering: the Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration 3.0. The service is a hosted version of the firm's family of server products: Microsoft Exchange 2003, Live Communications Server 2005 and Windows SharePoint Services.
The offering, which is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), delivers email, shared calendaring, contacts, document collaboration and instant messaging capabilities. It will be made available through the company's service provider and hosting partners.
"Service providers recognize the huge untapped opportunity of offering 'software as a service' to small and medium-sized businesses," said Pascal Martin, general manager for Hosting Solutions at Microsoft.
"We are hearing from many small and medium-sized organisations that they need enterprise-class messaging and collaboration services but do not want the worry of keeping their systems safe against SPAM, viruses or other security attacks or having to recover lost data in the case of catastrophic event."
"The global software-as-a-service market continues to grow," said Melanie Posey, research director of Telecom Markets at IDC.
"Businesses that can't afford or don't want to invest in on-site systems or technical specialists can now leverage hosted versions of Microsoft's messaging and collaboration productivity applications from trusted service providers."
"We expect the market for hosted and e-mail services to reach 59 million accounts in 2008, up from 39 million today," added Marcel Nienhuis, senior analyst at the Radicati Group.
"We attribute much of this rapid expansion to Hosted Exchange 2003, which has had a significant impact on the software- as-a-service hosted e-mail business."
Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration will be available globally on Janurary 19. More information can be found here.
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