Rackspace Chops Hosted Exchange Prices For VARs

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Kirk Averett, director of products in Rackspace's Email & Apps Division, said Rackspace's hosted e-mail and applications channel has nearly doubled its partner numbers in the last year. Under the retooled program, partners are offered a tiered structure with the more opportunity for recurring revenue, additional benefits to reward growth and the ability to set prices and margins.

At the center of the updated Email & Apps reseller program are reduced prices for hosted Microsoft Exchange, which will now start at $8 per mailbox per month, a 20 percent discount over the previous $10 pricing and a 36 percent discount off of Rackspace's retail rate of $12.50 for Exchange plus Outlook.

Averett wouldn't discuss the specific tiers of the new program and thresholds around them, noting that those details are still being hashed out.

Averett also pointed out that Rackspace is prepping to release new products into the channel under its Email & Apps umbrellas, including Rackspace Cloud Drive and Server Backup. Averett said more details on those products will be available soon as Rackspace adds them to the Email & Apps cloud computing portfolio that contains the proprietary Rackspace Email platform, hosted Exchange, mobile solutions, Email Archiving and Microsoft SharePoint.

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Averett said Email & Apps resellers also now have access to an overhauled Reseller Toolkit that includes sales collateral and support documentation that are white-labeled and easily rebranded for distribution to customers. Additionally, a new reseller Webinar series can give partners the latest updates on products, sales training and deal support training.

Rackspace has also launched new training initiatives around its hosted SharePoint offering, which Rackspace launched last month. The SharePoint offering enables VARs to charge customers based on the value of the full solution tailored to them, not on Rackspace's utility pricing model.

"We provide the platform and the reseller turns the platform into a solution for the customer," Averett said.

As part of the updated Email & Apps program, Rackspace said it will also bring in product experts from outside Rackspace to provide partner training. For example a Microsoft representative will conduct SharePoint training in a series of Webinars kicking off next week.