XO Marks the bCentral Spot for Microsoft

Microsoft Corp. has selected broadband company XO Communications, Inc. as Microsoft’s private label hosting provider for its 1.6 million small business bCentral registered users. The relationship also includes future plans to integrate key bCentral services into the XO flat-rate XOptions packages of local, long distance, Internet access and Web hosting services that are offered on one telecommunications bill.

Microsoft’s bCentral is an Internet resource for web-based business tools and applications and offers a fee-based suite of services, based on the .NET Platform, specifically designed to help small companies better manage their Web business processes.

Using the XO hosting platform will allow bCentral to offer a number of service enhancements to its customers, including nearly a two-fold increase in available disk space and data transfer limits and an increased number of email boxes. These enhancements will let small businesses to continually scale their website requirements as they grow their own businesses.

In addition, XO and Microsoft are working together to build a technology alliance in support of the Microsoft.NET services, including the Passport plan for a common authentication scheme and Exchange to enable higher-end business messaging and collaboration services.

“Being named the key hosting provider for Microsoft bCentral is a tremendous validation of our leadership in the hosting marketplace,” said Nancy Gofus, executive vice president of Marketing and Customer Care at the Reston, Va.-based XO. “We’ve developed an extremely capable hosting platform and view this relationship as a confirmation of the success of our efforts.”

Added Satya Nadella, vice president of bCentral, “We have had a strong working relationship with XO for some time, and it made sense to broaden that relationship. XO has a solid track record of providing superior performance and scalability along with excellent customer service. We knew small-business bCentral customers would benefit from this relationship.”

Key bCentral services being integrated into the XO shared hosting platform include:

* Traffic Builder — search engine registration and email newsletter campaigns;

* Commerce Manager — online catalog for selling on the Internet, full capabilities for managing and processing orders for inventory, and ability to publish catalogs to a variety of e-commerce marketplaces;

* Submit It — tool for submitting a customer’s Web site URL to globally driven search engines;

* List Builder — an email marketing solution that includes capability for building and maintaining customer databases and mailing lists; and

* Appointment Manager — enables the Web-based coordination of meetings and appointments for businesses involved in the service industry

XO’s services include local and long distance voice, Internet access, virtual private networking (VPN), Ethernet, wavelength, hosting and integrated voice and data services. The company is also one of North America’s largest holders of fixed broadband wireless spectrum, with licenses covering 95 percent of the population of the 30 largest U.S. cities.

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