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Hosting provider adds Linux, warns Microsoft

The Toronto, Ont.-based service provider owns and operates, a web-based email retrieval system and, Web and application hosting services.

Tony Yustein, CEO of SoftCom Technology Consulting Inc., outlined during a press conference Tuesday why the company chose to change its dedication from Microsoft technology.

“Close to 70 per cent of all of the Web sites today are hosted on a Linux platform. Windows market share has eroded from a high 35 per cent in mid 2002 to the current level of 21 per cent,” Yustein said. “It appears that Microsoft has lost their focus and drive specifically for this market.”

He believes one way the software giant can reverse the trend is by no longer delaying its next version of the next Windows Operating System code-named Longhorn.

“Service providers are looking for tangible reasons to use Microsoft technology and delaying this release any further will damage Microsoft’s credibility long term,” he stated. “Microsoft also needs to spend more on changing the perception in the marketplace that Windows is inferior to Linux in security.”

To remain competitive, SoftCom chose to embrace a multi-platform with Linux and Windows, but Yustein stressed that the company’s future does not consist of it abandoning Microsoft technology.

With a 90 per cent customer base of small businesses, the new blended hosting environment provides Windows and Linux support under a single plan.

The hybrid hosting package is based on its regular shared-hosting plans and will get full Windows application support and features such as Microsoft SQL database and FrontPage. A separate native Linux account will run Linux scripts and tools, which include PHP, PERL and MySQL.

“Our decision to offer Windows and Linux together as the same service plan is very unique in the industry. To the best of our knowledge no one else is offering Linux and Windows together as one,” said Michael Carr, vice president, sales and marketing of Toronto, Ont.-based SoftCom Technology Consulting, Inc.

“We are now offering our customers choice,” said John Carthy, director of marketing of SoftCom Technology Consulting Inc. “They can chose and pick the applications they want to run and don’t have to concern themselves with the underlying Operating System.”

Carr said that inside of 5 months it will offer a Linux only offering, that will be priced for less than its current US $9.95 basic hosting plan for Windows that provides 100MB of disk space, 5GB data transfer and 20 e-mail accounts.

“We are getting some customers today that are saying ‘its great I am getting both Windows and Linux for one price but I don’t really need both’,” Carr said.

According to Carr, 7 per cent of its business worldwide comes from channel sales, which he expects can grow up to 10 to 12 per cent by the end of the year. SoftCom currently deals with a base around 300 resellers, with about 50 to 100 of those stationed in Canada.

“Today a lot of VARs have Linux experience and need a place to host Web sites for their customers,” he added.

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