GoDaddy Hosts Exchange to Offer First Desktop Mail Service

Web domain and hosting provider GoDaddy Monday unveiled its first desktop mail offering based on a partnership with Microsoft to host Exchange Server 2007.

GoDaddy is offering two plans for individuals and small businesses that want to use Microsoft Outlook e-mail client and Exchange messaging server hosted on GoDaddy's infrastructure. One plan offers one Outlook mailbox with 2G bytes of storage for US$9.99 a month. The other offers five Outlook mailboxes with a total of 20G bytes of storage for $59.99 a month.

Both offerings include Microsoft Outlook 2007 or Entourage 2008, the equivalent for Apple's Macintosh platform, as well as mobile access to e-mail.

GoDaddy, best known for its domain-registration service, has offered its own hosted, Web-based e-mail for some time. However, demand from customers who already use Microsoft Outlook spurred the company to partner with Microsoft to give customers another hosted e-mail option, said Warren Adelman, president and CEO of GoDaddy.

"It's about offering customers choice," he said. "There are people who use the Outlook client, and there are lots of small companies that use an Exchange Server. We didn't want to have to force them to go to a fully Web-based environment."

Adelman added that some small-business customers who look to GoDaddy to be an "IT business partner" said that they don't have the IT staff or infrastructure to run Exchange Server on premise, but wanted to use the software and the Outlook client for e-mail. "An offering that was essentially a hosted or cloud-based [Exchange] service was attractive to them," he said.

GoDaddy is offering Exchange Server through a licensing partnership with Microsoft, the terms of which Adelman declined to discuss. The company also is part of a program Microsoft already has for partners that offer Exchange as a hosted service to customers.

Microsoft has allowed third parties to offer its Exchange Server on a hosted basis for some time and recently expanded the number of its applications third parties can host to include its SharePoint collaboration and Office Communications Server unified-communications software. Partners can offer all three on a hosted basis to customers as part of a package called Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration 4.5.

However, Microsoft soon will become a competitor of these partners as well. Under pressure from Google and other companies that offer their own hosted services to businesses, Microsoft said that next year it will begin offering hosted versions of all three applications as well as Office Live Meeting directly to customers for a monthly subscription.

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