WebCentral targets SMEs with Managed Exchange 2003

Web hosting provider, WebCentral, has launched a Managed Exchange 2003 service, which it claims will make corporate email tools affordable for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Based on the imminent Microsoft Exchange 2003, WebCentral’s offering starts at $10 per mailbox per month. The full bells and whistles version costs twice as much.

The cheapest package, Solo Access, provides Outlook Web access, Pocket PC Mobile Active Sync and Outlook Mobile Access as well as 50MB of storage space for archiving emails.

At $15 per month, the Web Access version adds basic features such as public folders and a meeting planner while the top-of-the-shop Web and PC Access offers advanced features like timed delivery of outbound emails and printing templates.

Mailboxes can be added or turned off on a month-to-month basis. Additional storage space is available with all three plans.

WebCentral CEO, Lloyd Ernst, said the new Managed Exchange 2003 service was “more than email” and would provide most benefit to small business in rural areas.

He said many applications delivered over satellite broadband had not performed well because of delays between sending and receiving data but said Managed Exchange was one of a new breed of broadband applications designed to work in these high latency environments.

AC Nielsen analyst, Ramin Marzbani, said the application service provider model was the only way small organisations could be competitive on a national scale and predicted more services would become managed as technology made further advances.

He said broadband had been the real driver behind increased take up of managed services

“The high cost of having a fast connection has changed dramatically with the advent of ADSL,” he said. “There have been some hick ups around reliability but it has been good for the past six months and will improve further going forward.”

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