Microsoft Exchange Online: Implications for Firms Offering Hosted Exchange

A number of firms are offering hosted versions of Microsoft's Exchange, SharePoint, and OCS, using Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration, or HMC for short.

On November 17, 2008, Microsoft announced its own version of these hosted services; i.e., where Microsoft provides the hosting platform itself.

Service providers using HMC are now in an unfortunate position of competing with Microsoft directly. This means they need to offer substantial value adds over Microsoft Online. They can provide alternative mobility solutions, conferencing, voice services, systems integration, and billing integration. They can also provide vertical market expertise. It's hard for them to compete on price because of the license fees they must pay Microsoft.

All in all, it's unclear how well they'll be able to compete. These are interesting times for people reselling hosted Exchange, whether they be a mega-telco, or whether they be Joe-the-PC-integrator.

... David Ferris

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