Hosted Exchange Reality Check: 5 Key Questions

I'm heading over to the Intermedia Partner Summit this morning in Silicon Valley, where several dozen MSPs will be hearing about the hosted Exchange and hosted Unified Communications markets. Intermedia is one of the best-known providers of white label hosted Exchange services to MSPs. But the company has also been building a hosted Unified Communications partnership with Unison Technologies. Here are five things I hope to learn at the conference...

1. Margins and Strategies: How are MSPs pitching hosted Exchange these days -- and can MSPs continue to differentiate from Microsoft's own Exchange Online and BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) offerings?

2. Next Moves: When do MSPs pitch basic Exchange vs. a true unified communications solution? And how can that transition to hosted unified communications potentially bolster recurring revenue?

3. Competing and Cooperating: How can big service providers like Intermedia both compete with Microsoft and cooperate as a hosted Exchange partner? It has to be a pretty intense relationship these days, consider Microsoft's aggressive Exchange Online price cuts.

4. SharePoint: Where are the opportunities with hosted SharePoint?

5. Vertical markets: How are MSPs customizing hosted Exchange, SharePoint and other platforms for health care, financial services, legal and other vertical markets.

I'll be back throughout the day with more perspectives. UPDATE, 3:13 p.m. eastern, March 4: I tracked down a few answers to the questions above. Here they are.

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