ISP iiNet has launched a hosted version of Microsoft Exchange aimed at small business users. That puts it in direct competition with the Telstra-delivered Office 365 service, but despite similar pricing there are some differences between the two products.
iiNet's hosted Exchange offering costs $2.95 per user per month for a basic mailbox with 3GB of storage, or $6.95 a month for a larger 25GB mailbox and the ability to sync emails and receive push notifications. Both services are offered on a no-contract basis and hosted out of iiNet's Melbourne data centre, and run on Exchange 2010 SP2.
The lower entry price point, Australian hosting and lack of a contract all distinguish iiNet's offering from Office 365. A basic hosted Exchange service from Telstra costs $7.00 a month, but requires a contract and is hosted out of Singapore.
iiNet chief business officer Greg Bader said despite the rise of alternatives such as Gmail, small business owners were already typically running Office so Exchange was an obvious choice as a mail process. "Being hosted in Australia is important for some of our customers," he said. iiNet is considering expanding the service to include additional unified communication options such as Lync.