Microsoft unwraps Win2K promotion

Microsoft Corp. last month unwrapped an aggressive promotional campaign aimed at increasing the use of its Windows 2000 server software among ISPs, an area traditionally dominated by vendors of Unix software.

At the ISPCon show in San Jose, Calif., a senior Microsoft executive announced a promotional campaign beginning this month (Dec. 8) in which ISPs and ASPs can receive a free license of Microsoft’s Windows 2000 Advanced Server product for each copy of that product that they buy, up to a maximum of 25 servers, Microsoft said in a statement.

The speech was delivered by Microsoft senior vice-president Brian Valentine, who also highlighted the benefits of Microsoft’s .Net initiative to enable new types of services over the Internet.

Windows 2000 Advanced Server licenses run at US$3,999, putting the value of the offer at up to $100,000, Microsoft said in the statement. The company had already disclosed that ISPs who meet certain requirements can get their first copy of Windows 2000 Advanced Server free of charge, and this deal builds on that offering.

The offer is open to commercial Web hosting companies hosting at least 25 domains, and those customers must have a Windows-based shared hosting offering on their home page. In addition, servers licensed must be used to host at least 100 unique, customer-domain Web sites, and applicants must attend a Microsoft training course and pass an on-line exam, the company said.

The effort is designed to help give Microsoft a footing in the lucrative server rooms of ISPs and ASPs, where Unix platforms from the likes of Sun Microsystems Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., as well as Linux servers, are widely used today. Microsoft has promoted Windows 2000 as a far more reliable and scalable operating system than its predecessor, Windows NT 4.0, which critics have charged was not robust enough for such demanding server-side applications.

“In the ISP space, for basic Web hosting and above, a lot of (ISPs and ASPs) have traditionally used Unix, and Linux in particular, and we’re trying to make it easy for them to make a transition to Windows 2000,” Mark Chestnut,