a privately held application service provider, announced that Microsoft has
invested $10 million as part of a strategic partnership arrangement. Corio and
Microsoft are still discussing which Microsoft applications Corio will offer.
Initially, such Windows DNA based products as Windows 2000, SQL 7.0, IIS and
other BackOffice products will be hosted. Corio will also offer development
tools like Visual InterDev and COM+, MTS, MSMQ and others. The two companies
will build a shared laboratory to work together on hosting and deployment architecture
using Microsoft's Windows DNA platform. The companies will also share business
intelligence related to Corio's market.
Corio is not the only ASP with which Microsoft has a partnering arrangement,
this one is particularly significant. It will put Corio at or near the head
of the pack with offering the newest Microsoft technologies. This means, in
particular, that it will be positioned to host the latest versions of the applications
from its providers, which include Siebel and Commerce One. Most important, Corio
will be recommended by the Microsoft sales channel. Taken together, the components
of this deal give Corio a significant advantage over other ASP firms, especially
those that are Microsoft-centric. On the other hand, although Corio had its
early roots in the Sun/Unix world, we expect that a side effect of this arrangement
will be future de-emphasizing of Unix-based hosting.
For the user, the advantages of this deal are that Corio will have early experience
with the newest Microsoft technologies and the applications that are built upon
them. Thus, those users who will be most swayed by this announcement are those
with an interest in being early adopters and those whose requirements, on an
ongoing basis, are likely to call for the most up-to-date versions of their
will note this partnership and the company's increased financial strength as
positive factors in evaluating Corio. In selections where Corio comes out near
the top of the list for features, cost, and service the real and intangible
effects of this partnership may be enough to tip the balance in Corio's favor.