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Caldera the giant killer?

Caldera the giant killer?

Caldera is set to release a series of new products aimed at steering disgruntled customers away from Microsoft.

With recently acquired SCO divisions now integrated into its business, Caldera is pitching its products as a viable alternative to the Microsoft platform.

On November 15, the Unix/Linux vendor will release a messaging product dubbed the Volution Messaging Server that will be targeted squarely at those Microsoft users frustrated by escalating licence fees. Visiting managing director for the Asia-Pacific region Kenneth Bergenthal said many Microsoft customers are unhappy about changes to the software giant's licensing scheme. He suggests several customers expect to see costs blow out by 30 to 80 per cent as a result. "How could anybody be doing that at times like this?" he said.

Bergenthal said the messaging server will be a credible and viable alternative to using Microsoft Exchange. It will appeal to a "sweet spot" among service providers that want to wrap their services around the product, but will be much more manageable and trustworthy than an open source alternative, he said.

Caldera is also in the midst of integrating several of its products to propose an alternative to Microsoft's IIS (Internet Information Services) software, a product that both users and analysts have identified as failing to provide an adequate level of security to its users in the aftermath of recent virus attacks. This new product is due to be announced "within weeks," Bergenthal said.

Caldera has just one staff employed in Australia and New Zealand, with regional general manager Kieran O'Shaughnessy running the one-man show. O'Shaughnessy claims this is less a sign of inadequate support and more of a signal of commitment to leveraging the resources of partners.

The vendor is currently formalising its channel program and educating former SCO and Caldera channel partners about the new scheme in place under the merged Caldera entity. As well as its distributors (in Australia, Tardus and MPA Systems), and vertical ISP partners, Caldera offers three levels of accreditation. The entry-level resellers are dubbed Registered Partners, and need to provide little commitment to the vendor other than filling out some forms. Authorised partners require a small level of training, while Premier Partners need a number of salespeople trained in the product and must make a volume commitment to the vendor. More details are available at http://www.caldera.com/partners


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