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Corio looks for a little push from Marimba

Corio plans to announce a deal with Marimba, which makes push software that will enable Corio to deliver and manage software for its customers over the Net or through intranets.

Upstart applications outsourcing provider Corio is looking for a little push from Marimba.

The company on Monday plans to announce a partnership with Marimba, which makes push software that will enable Corio to deliver and manage software applications for its customers over the Internet or through corporate intranets.

Through the deal, Redwood City, California-based Corio will use Marimba's Castanet push software suite as part of its backbone for delivering business software applications it rents through its partners, including PeopleSoft.

Applications outsourcing is a nascent market expected to slowly expand as companies become more comfortable with the idea of renting applications over the Web. The applications outsourcing movement may also provide a fertile market for Marimba's Castanet.

Castanet lets its users broadcast and manage software applications over the Internet or through corporate intranets. The software is designed to let information systems managers remotely update the software applications of employees, business partners, and consumers alike.

Corio is the first application service provider, or ASP, to use Castanet as an application management tool.

Many firms--including ISPs, business software vendors, and firms focused simply on applications outsourcing--are quickly jumping into the rent-an-app fray. Through an application outsourcing deal, a company pays a monthly, per-user fee to have an ASP manage their application from a data center. The customer's employees access the applications via a browser.

Mountain View, California-based Marimba is positioning itself early and well in the potentially lucrative ASP market, analysts said.

News from Marimba has dimmed some since its splashy debut in 1996. In 1997, the company, which remains privately held, announced a distribution pact with Netscape Communications, under which Netscape would market, sell, and support Marimba's products through its sales force.

Last year, the company said it would continue pursuing a strategy of selling push to businesses as a software delivery mechanism. Now, Marimba is marketing Castanet as an application management tool, with Corio as its first ASP customer.

"I think you'll see more partnerships from Marimba," said Clare Gillan, analyst at International Data Corporation in Framingham, Massachusetts. "They see ASPs as a very important part of their business."

So may Corio's rivals, including USinternetworking, which recently filed to go public, as well as Lotus Notes applications outsourcer ServiceNet and World Technology Services, which has partnered with J.D. Edwards.

Larger services firms, such as IBM Global, also provide applications outsourcing services, though that is only part of their business.

Corio is building its sales model around providing human resource, financial, and manufacturing applications to midsize customers who cannot afford the expensive systems or do not want to manage them. Castanet software will enable Corio to remotely update applications its customers use.

"In order for an ASP to be successful and handle the complexities of application hosting, it must have software management products like Castanet," Jonathan Lee, Corio's chief executive officer, said in a statement.