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Study projects ASP market growth; Sprint dives in

The market for outsourced software application services appears to be gaining ground as technology and Internet companies continue to farm out their high-tech needs.

    The market for outsourced software application services appears to be gaining ground as technology and Internet companies continue to farm out their high-tech needs.

    Communications giant Sprint today announced a new program of network services aimed at application service providers (ASPs). In addition, a recent study shows strong growth among ASPs targeting the wireless sector, providing evidence of the growth in the market.

    Application service providers buy, install, host and manage the equipment and licenses necessary for companies to run computer software. By relying on an outsourced ASP provider, many business customers save time and money by letting the ASP handle these tasks externally.

    The ASP business, although relatively new, has grown in popularity recently. The growth is fueled in part by the sheer number of new technology companies and the shortage of experienced high-tech workers.

    Prominent players in the industry include USinternetworking, FutureLink and Corio, among dozens of others. Other ASP business models also abound, including Agillion's Web-based application approach and the ASP aggregation efforts of Jamcracker, for example.

    According to a new study by market research firm International Data Corp., the wireless application outsourcing market will grow substantially during the next few years, producing revenue of $732 million by 2004. Many wireless ASPs, including GeePS, AirFlash and Geoworks, help companies design wireless transaction services, such as setting or confirming a reservation from a wireless Internet connection.

    IDC says there are 45 companies addressing the wireless ASP market, and the sector will see particularly strong revenue growth in 2002.

    Separately, Sprint today announced a new program, called Enabling ASPs, or eASP. The plan will offer network connectivity and marketing services tailored to ASPs. Sprint announced four ASP customers for its new service.