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Corio Signs Critical Path to Host Email

Leading enterprise ASP Corio, Inc Tuesday unveiled Corio Messaging Solutions, a hosted suite of messaging and collaboration software utilizing Microsoft Exchange Server, and hosted by Critical Path .

Through an agreement between Microsoft and Corio, customers of Corio Messaging Solutions do not have to purchase a Microsoft software license through a third party. Instead, Corio will bundle the license fee into the monthly hosting fee while Critical Path will provide the hosted Exchange service and security features. Corio will handle sales and support for their branded messaging applications, while Critical Path will host and maintain all of the messaging applications in Critical Path data centers.

"Corio continues to strengthen the breadth of the Corio Intelligent Enterprise. Our solutions cover every functional area of an organization and this reach will continue to be a cornerstone of our strategy going forward," said George Kadifa, Corio's president and CEO.

The components of Corio Messaging Solutions are Hosted Microsoft Exchange and Corio Mail. Hosted Microsoft Exchange offers the full functionality of Microsoft Outlook, including business messaging, collaboration and groupware services. The groupware capabilities enable knowledge workers at large, dispersed enterprises to effectively communicate and collaborate.

Corio Mail offers e-mail services to employees securely and reliably via desktop or the Web. Additional functions include message synchronization and directory capabilities. Corio offers Critical Path's full complement of outsourced messaging applications, including Critical Path's InScribe Groupware Hosting, InScribe Email Messaging (web-based, POP3, and IMAP4) and InSchedule Calendaring.

Corio chose to begin offering a hosted email solution for two main reasons, Chris Casanega, Corio's director of marketing, told ASP News. First, it made sense as an add-on product for Corio's existing customers who were using Corio's hosting services for other parts of their business, and then as a lead product to get a foot in the door with new customers, especially larger organizations, Casanega said. "We did some research and found that the one application larger companies are most willing to let go of and host is email. It's a way to prove to them that hosting works and build trust."

Casanega said that Critical Path was chosen as a partner due to their demonstrated success in the email hosting arena. "Why fight that? It makes more sense to leverage that success," he said.

Corio's relationship with Critical Path is different than its previous relationships, where the management, hosting, infrastructure and customer service were all provide by Corio, but email is a different type of application than other Corio solutions, with fewer requirements for training, implementation, customization and application management, Casanega said.

"It's just not economical to build out a full solution in all areas. Rather than build an email shop ourselves, we realized that Critical Path had done this, had reached an economy of scale, and were doing it profitably," he said.

By outsourcing the hosting operations to Critical Path, Corio also sees benefits of reduced up-front costs for setup and implementation, he said.

Corio Mail is a simpler form of email solution that does not offer the advanced collaboration and groupware features of Microsoft Exchange, but carries a smaller price tag, Casanega said. "We expect Corio Mail to be purchased by some smaller companies, but most of our customers will need the full functionality of Exchange," he said.

Corio's customers tend to fit into the small to medium enterprise (SME) category, with typical revenues in the $200 to $250 m