RealTime IT News

Microsoft Plans Joint R&D Lab for Hosted Applications

ASP FutureLink Corp. and Microsoft signed an agreement to establish an R&D lab and two Hosted Application Showcase facilities for Independent Software Vendors (ISVs).

The facilities will aid ISVs that wish to provide hosted versions of their apps using Windows 2000 Terminal Services.

Microsoft also is making a $10 million equity investment in FutureLink.

The R&D Lab, which will be located in southern California, will provide technical guidance to ISVs preparing their applications for ASP deployment using Windows 2000 Terminal Services.

FutureLink will establish an ASP-Hosted Application Showcase facility in Irvine, Calif., and Microsoft, with assistance from FutureLink, will establish a similar site at the Microsoft Partner Solutions Center in Redmond, WA. The Hosted Application Showcase facility in Irvine can be used by ISV sales forces and sales channels to demonstrate hosted applications.

"The establishment of the R&D lab and Hosted Application Showcase facilities will help expand the number of applications available through ASPs and accelerate the trend toward subscription as a cost-effective approach to leveraging the latest business technology," said Philip R. Ladouceur, chairman and chief executive officer of FutureLink.

FutureLink has a history with Microsoft; last November the company agreed to participate in the Hosted Application Initiative sponsored by Microsoft and Cisco Systems Inc. That same month, FutureLink announced intentions to host Microsoft Office 2000 applications through Microsoft Office Online. In January 2000, FutureLink added Microsoft Exchange 5.5 messaging and collaboration services to its hosted application portfolio. In February, FutureLink said it would standardize its offerings on Windows 2000 Server, and in June, announced its support of Exchange 2000.

Through its data centers, FutureLink allows companies to outsource all computing service and support, and predict and manage the total cost of technology ownership. FutureLink customers subscribe to the application hosting service on a per-seat basis, and can access business-critical software and support services over the Internet.