Let Microsoft run Exchange for you

microsoft exchange Live Mesh and other consumer facing initiatives tend to garner the majority of the headlines related to Microsoft’s cloud computing initiatives, but it’s the simple, more boring things like hosted Exchange services that will probably have a bigger direct impact on the bottom line. I’ve run my own servers for a long time now, and while it isn’t incredibly difficult it is time consuming. I’d definitely welcome a switch to having Microsoft run them for me. They seem think it’s going to happen very quickly:

In an interview ahead of the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit, Chris Capossela, who manages Microsoft’s Office products, said the company will see more and more companies abandon their own in-house computer systems and shift to “cloud computing,” a less expensive alternative.

“In five years, 50 percent of our Exchange mailboxes will be Exchange Online,” said Capossela, who expects a portion of Exchange Online customers to come from customers switching from International Business Machines’ (IBM.N) Lotus Domino system.

When you run your own Exchange server, there’s a lot of things you need to worry about. You need to ensure it is patched with the latest updates, that the junk mail filters are configured correctly, that data is being backed up properly, etc. It would be much better if Microsoft just did all of that for me.

I know there are already companies that do this sort of thing, but there’s something about having Microsoft behind the service that appeals to me. They should be the experts on their own software, after all. And I’m sure they’ll eventually offer a suite of these services that’ll just be a no-brainer for small businesses.

Why buy, install, and support an increasingly expensive Small Business Server, when you can just pay Microsoft a monthly fee to do it all for you? That’s where cloud computing will have the biggest impact on businesses.

Read: Yahoo! News

8 thoughts on “Let Microsoft run Exchange for you

  1. The big remaining reason to do it yourself is extensibility. e.g. There is now crmlive.com with MS’s CRM 4.0 available, but you can’t use .NET plug-ins, custom workflow activities or upload workflows. Microsoft now talks about “online” (from MS), “on-premise” (with customer’s equipment) and “partner-hosted”. I imagine Microsoft is taking away business from “partner-hosted” for vanilla installs, so partners now have to add value to keep “partner-hosted” as an option.

  2. This all harps back to MS’s concept/desire for continuous income from customers (licensing/hosting rather than purchasing stuff). Good for the bottom line, but potentially not good for the customer in the long run (financially).

  3. Good points, both. I guess we need to hope that they treat their various offerings equally…that is, a hosted Exchange customer is no better or worse than a DIY Exchange customer.

  4. That is what we do. Delivering IT as an utility.

    Managed Email – Hosted Exchange
    Managed Office – Hosted Office
    Managed Backup – Hosted Storage and Backup
    Managed IP Telephony – Hosted Voice

    It is no longer about buying but rather subscribing. It is no longer about IT but rather about a service.

    Enhance our tag line.. Technology Today. Utility Tomorrow.

    Finally the world is catching up to what the public utility industry has been doing since 1930s.. All these initiatives about cloud computing, Web 3, XXXX-As-A-Service, is building credibility for us. That is definitely a good thing. As they say, when you have companies like Microsoft, Google, Cisco, and etc all talk about Cloud Computing, it sure doesn’t hurt…

  5. Steven…good point…this is exactly what you guys do. Do you see Microsoft entering the market as a good thing or a bad thing? There’s probably the concern that they’ll take market share away from you, but on the other hand, they might increase the size of the market just by exposing more companies to it. Microsoft entering might be a great thing for you guys!

  6. Good or bad is all in the timing. If we can build up our business big enough in a relatively short timeframe, then we can position ourselves for acquisition. I often say, the success/failure does not really depend on the idea but the timing of the idea. We can be in front of the wave meaning the idea is ahead of its time. We can be ride the wave meaning the idea has hit prime time. Or we can be behind the wave meaning we have miss the boat. So it will really depend on how we execute our business plan in the next three years. So far we are on track. We have grown quite a bit since we last met…

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