App service provider standardisation plans afoot

The much-publicised global ASP (application service provider) market has caught worldwide legal systems "napping", says local Citrix executive Phil Osborne.

His comments follow the recent announcement that the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) will join forces with the ASP Industry Consortium to devise a globally recognised contract negotiation mechanism for ASPs.

Osborne, who is Citrix's enterprise solutions manager for iBusiness, expects the global standard will allow for the seamless resolution of contractual disputes and discrepancies between ASPs and their customers.

The regionalised laws that govern consumer-oriented business in most countries "simply can't work" in the "truly international business" of the Internet, Osborne said.

"On the Internet, where are the borders?"

One possible reason Osborne suggested as to why government agencies have only now started constructing any globalised laws pertaining to the ASP industry was the expectation that ASPs may not attract significant business, international or otherwise, "for quite a while".

Osborne said possible advantages of the ASP industry standard could include globalised pricing for software rental.

In fact, he said that Citrix, which provides ASP-enabling technology, already uses a globalised pricing structure for its services.

However, it was likely a "third-party" ASP business model would soon emerge, whereby a service provider rented applications from a software vendor and charged customers an additional resale margin, he said.

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