Lucy’s Sail: Chapter 1: … And they set sail to the old world …


columbus_ship If he were around today, King George III would have written “Something of significance happened today” in his electronic diary. He probably wouldn’t have gone mad dealing with the new EU privacy laws which made it impossible for him to use the cheap software services from the new world. For today, Vlad Columbus set sail with La Nina, La Pinta y La Santa Maria back to the old world with ship loaded with spices, Exchange 2007, SharePoint 3.0, Offsite Backups, Virtual web and email hosting. With the looks of “consort fit for a king” at the prices even a cockney flower girl in Covent Garden could afford.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome the world of Microsoft business class cloud services to Europe!

From a company with over twelve years of expertise providing services and data center solutions.

With massive redundancy across the continent, with data centers in United Kingdom, Netherlands and Germany!

At the same prices we charge for services delivered from United States!

With ten times the storage!

No, we didn’t wake up last year with a goal to destroy our partners businesses by competing with them ruthlessly for every single corner of the market with notoriously poor services, legacy of horrible Indian support, from a data centers that probably won’t be finished for years just in hope of keeping Google at bay but ending up just freezing our own market. (I did mention this was going to get dirty, right?)

No, we did it in careful cooperation with thousands of partners who for years loyally sent us their businesses and with the rise of Patriot Act simply could no longer use USA-based services. We did it with the feedback on what is needed, what would sell, what would make everyone a lot of money. We also did it when we built up the network of partners that needed this, so we could make it profitable and sustainable.

So what is coming to Europe?

Microsoft Exchange 2007.

Microsoft SharePoint v3.

OWN Offsite Backup Servers.

OWN Virtual Hosting (web, email, SQL).

But it’s going to be expensive, right?

No, it will be the same price as for the service in United States. $1/GB offsite backup, $10/Exchange Mailbox, $10 for virtual hosting.

But it’s going to be crippled down to 5 Mb mailboxes, right?

In United States we offer 1GB mailboxes by default. We use enterprise class storage and clustering technologies and that happens to cost. So with the bandwidth costs in UK, more expensive storage, etc you’d imagine to have a little less room on your Exchange box, but of course!

Nope – 10 GB mailboxes. No, that’s not a typo – that is a ten gigabyte Exchange mailbox for $10.

Since we learned a lot about Exchange 2007 since our initial launch of Exchange 2007 hosting we were able to go back to the drawing table with Western Digital and SuperMicro and design our European offering a little better and a lot more affordably.

But this is just some promotional launch, right?

You should know better than that from OWN, we don’t do fire sales. You should also know that we are aware of the “currency” problem – yes, we are proud to be an American company and take American dollars from your credit card – but that doesn’t mean that we’re ignorant of the realities of international commerce and what the exchange rate fluctuation can do to your profit margin.

Each service will come with a contract and a 20% exchange rate fluctuation, so if your currency devalues to the US Dollar by more than 20% we’ll adjust our pricing.

So you are going to fight with us for the end market, too?

Yes, our logo is blue, but thats about as far as we go with anticompetitiveness.

All OWN contracts come with a non-compete clauses – we actually turn over the account if your customer signs with us directly, we don’t move accounts from one provider to another without the original partners permission, we never solicit your customers directly and we don’t offer any benefits or pushy sales people incentives to remove you from the food chain. We actually like working with partners.

Can I get it if I’m an American or Canadian?

Absolutely – the prospect of $1/GB international storage seems like a good deal doesn’t it? We aren’t enforcing geographic restrictions, nor are we marking it up like crazy country to country – so just pick where you want your service to be provided from when you’re signing up.

Great, so we get to promote you?

Ever heard of ExchangeDefender? We take the managed services stuff seriously – the services management console based on Shockey Monkey will have full branding for all your management needs.

What about the community?

Part of our profits will be spent to promote the EU IT communities.

What have I forgotten…

Oh yes, that's really me. Yes, that big of an ass. Oh yeah, first, this never would have been possible without our partners who gave us constant guidance and business over the years, enough business that we could justify this expansion of all our services to include Europe. We’ve always provided our ExchangeDefender service with global redundance, and now the rest of our family is joining in.

I know this may compete with your way of thinking or what you imagine the future might be. It’s hard to think of going from designing infrastructure for thousands of dollars (or euros) into the world of thinking that the same infrastructure is going to be provided out of your sight for $10. However, if you look at where the application development is heading, at what the marketplace is dictating as the value (or lack of perceived value) in the on-site infrastructure. Who is to say which one is the right one? Nobody knows, but the point is that you can compete at that level too.

What’s more, you can focus on the more profitable areas of technology consulting, of customizing all these nameless and faceless applications into something that benefits the end business enough that they keep on bringing you back for more where you’re not just another computer switcher but someone with indepth knowledge of their app infrastructure.

I want to thank all our European partners for the business and loyalty over the years. This move is long overdue. However, it is here with far more than we do or offer in United States. We look to growing the new market with you, not against you. Really, where do you want to go today?

Tune in tomorrow to see what we’ve got in store for her majesty’s prisoners…