“We are talking to both parties,” Greg Bader, iiNet’s CTO and CEO of iiNet Business said. Telstra and Optus have exclusive licences to sell Office 365 and Google Apps, respectively. Industry sources said the exclusivity contracts were due to expire soon.
iiNet launched yesterday iiNet Business Cloud, a virtual server-on-demand service similar in concept to Amazon EC2. Telstra and Optus offered similar services.
The infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) iiNet Cloud was the telco’s second cloud-based solution after iiNet Business Voice. iiNet Business Voice rented IP telephony handsets to businesses without the need for a PBX (on-premise phone exchange equipment) and included free phone calls to fixed lines and below-market rate calls to mobile phones.
Software-as-a-service solutions such as Google Apps and Office 365 were the next step.
“We can provide everything except Microsoft applications. To operate your business you should not have to be an IT expert. Our goal is to make business as simple as possible,” Bader said.
Bader said initial discussions were favouring Microsoft as the local office was proving to be more flexible than Google.
iiNet was still reviewing the impact of business bundles such as Telstra Digital Business which included website hosting, internet connection, IP telephony handsets, calls and Office 365 for a monthly fee. “The jury is out (on Telstra Digital Business), is the industry point of view,” Bader said.
“Qualifying the effort (in selling SaaS and other IT services) is what we’re trying to do. Do we need to provide screens, PCs and everything? I do believe that a fully hosted environment is the future,” Bader said.