Microsoft Still Doesn’t Get It.

Microsoft Still Doesn’t Get It.  I just read the article on C/Net entitled  Microsoft pitches Web tools to hosting companies.  I saw this and got excited:

An update to its Web hosting program is designed to make the combination of Microsoft server products more attractive to hosting companies, which often use Linux and other open-source components, Microsoft executives said.

Then I read a bit further to find out exactly what the new deal will be and found:

The company will give Web hosting companies a free 30-day trial period to use Visual Web Developer 2005 Express, a new product in Microsoft’s Visual Studio product line. The product is aimed at boosting use of Microsoft tools by individuals and small companies. The program and the licenses associated with using its software will allow hosting companies to try Microsoft-based products with little or no up-front costs, Nandi said.

Microsoft just doesn’t get it!!!  A 30 day free trial in this age-of-plenty is useless and will not entice anyone who wasn’t already seriously considering.  Conversely, Linux and the open source components don’t cost web hosters a dime1. EVER!

If Microsoft really wants to make inroads into the web hosting market, here is what they need to do:

  • Offer a Window’s Hosting Kit for $295 that offers unlimited licenses for Windows Server 2003, Web Edition.
  • Offer Visual Web Developer for FREE for everyone forever, but ensure a migration path to Visual Studio 2005.
  • Offer an optional annual paid support agreement for web hosters mirroring similar to those offered by Red Hat and others.
  • Over time build into Visual Web Developer access to fee-based web services from Microsoft’s new Live initiative.
  • Finally empower Hosters to make more money from their customers by adding more value for their customers. This might be by letting hosters who offer Windows hosting to federal the Live services and take a cut off the top.

This last one is a key critical piece that’s missing in Microsoft’s approach to dealing with web hosters.  Microsoft knows how to get it’s Solution Providers and Resellers motivated by helping them make more money, but they still haven’t figured out how to motivate web hosters. 

The irony is it boils down to one thing: Empower them to make more money!

1 Ignoring optional support fees, of course.

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