Compaq and Microsoft will each invest $US50 million in a application service provider (ASP) deal in the US, but have moved to allay any channel fears.
The companies this week said they would partner with US Web and ASP business Digex to jointly develop and deliver a suite of application hosting services.
The new services would be based on Compaq hardware, Microsoft software and would be managed through Digex's SmartCentre data centres, the companies said.
A spokesperson for Compaq in Australia said the deal would not affect Compaq's existing channel partnerships.
"This has nothing to do with the channel at all. It's really about Windows-based development and testing NT-based applications ... it's nothing to do with cutting out the channel," the spokesperson said.
Marketing director for Microsoft, Peter Cray, said an ASP strategy for Microsoft would simply provide an "alternate distribution strategy" to independent software vendors.
The Compaq spokesperson said the company could not speculate how soon, if at all, the vendor would deploy an ASP-related strategy in Australia.
"At this point, it's so new that they don't know how it's going to affect anything outside North America. There is a possibility of going global with this, but they're just looking at putting together the solutions and the development... They haven't looked at anything further than that," the spokesperson said.
Cray agreed it would by unwise for companies to deploy ASP marketing strategies ahead of product availability and infrastructure implementation.
"We've got to learn the lessons, along with our partners, about how to do this. They way infrastructure is set up and the way software needs to be developed is changing," he said.
However, Cray said Microsoft was confident its global ASP program would become "full blown" by mid 2000, by which time he said Microsoft's Office and NT software products would be ASP-centric.