Even with falling euro values, times are still tough in the SMB space. But this week there are a number of hosted options, including one for SharePoint 2010, that might help. Confirming the in-roads hosted and cloud computing is making, Rackspace is taking its services to Europe.

SharePoint 2010 Without The Price Tag

If you like the look of SharePoint 2010, but are not sure about the price-tag, Microsoft (news, site) hosting provider Intermedia (news, site) have just launched hosted SharePoint 2010, which is being made available as a standalone product or part of Intermedia's ecosystem of business communications software that also includes hosted Exchange 2010.

Launched with the SMB market in mind, users will manage hosted SharePoint and their other hosted solutions through Intermedia's proprietary HostPilotControl Panel. Intermedia has also made hosted SharePoint 2010 available for resale by partners.

The company also says that the hosted SharePoint 2010 will have much the same features as its on-premise sibling including:

  • Customizable Templates
  • Expanded Browser Support for access in IE 7 and 8, Firefox and Safari.
  • Optimized search capabilities
  • Visio Services access to Visio diagrams in SharePoint 2010.
  • Microsoft‘s "Ribbon" interface and integration with Microsoft Office

Intermedia has been doing well recently with hosted Microsoft products, the most popular of which has been the hosted Microsoft Exchange 2010. Earlier this week it reported a 74% growth in its hosted Exchange 2010 customer base with 1,400 direct customers and 20,000 mailboxes onboarded since the November 2009 launch.

With the interest in SharePoint 2010, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they reported similar figures for its adoption six months from now.

Skype Launches Video Conferencing beta

If you’re not in you can’t win! In this case the ‘win’ is free access to the beta version of Skype 5.0 that will enable group chats using video for up to four users at the same time.

While the beta version is available for download at the moment, Skype (news, site) has said that when it goes to general release late this year it will only be available as a paid premium service -- although at Skype prices for its current products it probably won’t cost a lot.

While this is open to everyone and anyone, the advantages to SMBs that have at least some of their workforce on the road, or working remotely, are clear.

As it is still only in beta there are a few small problems, but reaction to it has been generally positive, with many beta testers particularly happy with the new interface.

At the moment, the new beta version is only available for Windows users (not available to Windows 2000 users) users, but Skype said it is working on versions for both Mac OS X and Linux.

No date for the general release has been announced, but for those that want to keep Skype but don’t want to upgrade, the current version will still be available.

Symantec Offers Hosted Security

More hosted news, this time from security specialist Symantec (news, site) with the release of a cloud-based version of its Endpoint Protection product that provides antivirus, antispyware, firewall and host intrusion prevention for desktops and laptops as well as antivirus and antispyware for file servers.

Hosted Endpoint is part of Symantec’s portfolio of security solutions for SMB customers  will be particularly attractive for SMBs as it requires no additional software and will also automatically add security updates as soon as they arrive, Symantec says.

Features include:

  • Always-on protection for endpoints
  • Web-based management console
  • Administrator access via Web browser
  • Remote functions (system protection refresh, history views, policy setting changes)
  • Immediate scalability

Available in the US, it’s not clear whether it will be made available elsewhere.

Rackspace To Service European SMBs

That hosting and cloud computing is really beginning to kick off in the SMB space, not just in the USA but in Europe too, seems clear with the recent announcement from Rackspace (news, site) that they intend to bring public cloud services to the UK by the end of the year.

The company says that in 2009 alone its public cloud business grew by 125%. With Gartner (news, site) predicting that by 2012, 20% of SMBs will no longer own IT assets, the Rackspace says it is going to make the jump before others do.

As a result Rackspace will be offering public cloud services by the end of the year -- date as yet unknown -- from data centers across the UK that will also be servicing the European mainland.

Earlier this month Rackspace released its results for the first quarter which show just how buoyant the hosted and cloud computing market is despite current economic difficulties.

Its managed hosting revenue for the quarter increased to US$ 159.5 million, up from US$ 152.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 while cloud revenue increased to US$ 19.3 million in the quarter, up from US$ 17.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2009. It also reported an increase of close to 10% in its customer base.