Order Your Hosted E-Mail to Go

Monday Sep 18th 2006 by Dan Muse
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Motorola and Apptix announced a partnership to offer hosted mobile e-mail targeted at small businesses that want a single source for a mobile device, wireless service and on-demand e-mail services.

Apptix, a long-time provider of hosted Exchange, today announced that it will partner with Motorola to jointly offer hosted mobile e-mail targeted at small and mid-sized businesses that want a single source for their mobile device, wireless service and on-demand e-mail services.

"Most small business owners want to be connected all the time," said Samir Gulati, Apptix vice president of marketing and business development. The partnership with Motorola, he said, will provide a channel to allow SMBs to purchase a Motorola Q mobile device and bundled messaging services in one stop.

The package will be available through Best Buy retail stores and American Express, Gulati said.

The new offering will include the Motorola Q device itself, hosted Exchange Server e-mail and a voice and data service plan. Apptix will offer the package through its direct Web channels, ASP-One and MailStreet.

The pricing breaks down as follows, according to Apptix:

  • Hosted wireless service: $40 ($9.95 per month for Hosted Exchange and $30 per month for the data service).
  • Motorola Q: $179 for a 2-year service commitment with Verizon Wireless.
  • Apptix said it will also provide a Bluetooth headset (which it estimates at a $50 value) and a phone charger (an estimated $30 value).

By working with Best Buy, Gulati said, small business owners will be able to purchase the Motorola mobile device and sign up for e-mail services at the point of sale. When you leave the store you will be fully set up to begin messaging with the Q device, he added.

Apptix' mobile messaging service includes e-mail features such as shared calendars, public folder access and e-mail synchronization. The company also says it offers have constant IT administration and management of front-end tasks such as adding or deleting mailboxes, setting up distribution lists and public folders, and changing account permissions.

While the alliance with Motorola is new, Apptix has been providing hosted Exchange and Sharepoint for years either directly or through partnerships with IBM, HP and others.

Gulati said that while Apptix focuses on both small businesses (1-100 users) and mid-sized business, companies with "ultra-small businesses with between 1 and 20 users are our most active customers. These folks are IT-less or IT-constrained."

"It's not just messaging," Gulati said, "it's anti-spam, anti-virus, mobile access, archiving... . For a small business, it's too much to manage in house." He added providing multiple-vendor management for different services is part of the appeal of hosted services like those from Apptix as small businesses don't have time to deal with 5 to 7 different vendors.

The company's offerings are flexible with three or four different plans available, Gulati said. Mail costs $9.95 per user, per month. You can then layer on services such as anti-spam for a couple bucks a month. The company's service level agreement (SLA) guarantees 99.9 uptime.

Apptix is also looking into offering an IM service for small business. One option, Gulati said, is Microsoft Live Communications Service (LCS), which makes sense given the company's relationship with Microsoft. However, he added, that "LCS is fairly pricey for SMBs, and we'll offer it in conjunction with a lower-priced product.

Dan Muse is executive editor of internet.com's Small Business Channel, EarthWeb's Networking Channel and ServerWatch.

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