Open-Xchange To Woo Partners With New Program


In the program, to be unveiled next week, partners will fall into two categories: Member-level partners will include entry-level VARs, solution providers and ISVs and "Certified Members," who must meet certain technical requirements.

Both sets of partners will get specially priced software and support. For $790, they get a server license for their own use. Members will get coverage for five support incidents and certified partners will get 10. Next year the company plans to add a third segment for academic and training providers.

Open-Xchange now claims some 300 partners in 40 countries.

A partner relationship management tool running on the company's collaboration technology will provide access and allow updates to sales information and opportunities, technical support, document sharing, partner search and solution guides.

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Fred Michie, president of Michie Software Systems, Yorktown, Va., said he's dealt with the Open-Xchange for over a year and is impressed with its responsiveness.

"I've been in this business for a long time and what I like is they are willing to listen to my experiences," Michie noted. "When we started out with them, their support was good but slow. Then I talked to the guys in Germany and they were quick to clean that up. They used to have a tendency to get to work on your issue fast, but not necessarily inform you about that. Now they let you know," he noted. Open-Xchange, formerly known as Netline has its roots in Nuremburg, Germany and now has U.S. headquarters in Tarrytown, N.Y.

Open-Xchange itself is a Linux-based mail offering that supports popular Outlook clients through its extender, or "Oxtender" technology. The software runs on Red Hat and Novell SUSE Linux.

Open-Xchange was the e-mail of choice for the independent SUSE. When Novell acquired that concern, along with SUSE Linux in late 2003, Novell's mail strategy got confusing. It still fielded GroupWise, and resold Netline/Open-Xchange, but also started talking up Hula, e-mail coming out of its acquisition of its earlier buyout of Ximian.

The company has brought aboard several executives from Novell/SUSE, including Petra Heinrich, who led SUSE's channel efforts in Europe, the mid-East and Africa.

Open-Xchange and its partners position the company's offering as a less-pricey and more channel-friendly alternative to Microsoft Exchange Server and IBM Domino.