Microsoft New Zealand is launching an application server provider (ASP) programme in September to allow ASPs to pay monthly for software use, rather than buy licences outright.
The announcement follows a year of quiet experiments by the US-based parent with its software pricing models. The new programme will only be available to Microsoft certified solutions providers (MCSPs). "Our rationale is that the MCSPs have great skill levels in the Microsoft platform, have access to support and have an existing relationship with us," says Microsoft's Auckland-based consumer and commerce group manager, Paul Muckleston. Signing up for the ASP licensing programme will require partners to complete a monthly report detailing the usage of the various Microsoft applications and infrastructure components, says Muckleston. The vendor will train its certified partners by introducing technical training and providing information on the skills required to build and operate an ASP on the Microsoft Windows DNA Platform. The ASP programme will also support existing end user select licensing. According to Muckleston, if a company has an existing select agreement, it can have the ASP manage the licence on its behalf, but will need to be licensed for the latest software version and have a licence for each device accessing the application. Muckleston expects it to take several years for a general shift of revenue towards ASPs, but says Microsoft wants to prepare its partners in advance. "We want to make the transition is as easy as possible and recognise that there will be a variety of application deployment models running in parallel for many years to come," he says. "The net result is customers will be able to choose a mix of locally installed and managed applications based on Microsoft technologies versus those delivered over the Internet from a Microsoft ASP." ASPs will be able license SQL Server 2000, Windows 2000 Server, Exchange 2000 and Office 2000 on a monthly basis. The fees will be determined either by the number of named users or the number of processors on the system running the software.