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Microsoft updates hosting package

The software giant woos hosting firms away from open source with support for SQL Server 2005 and ASP.Net 2.0.

Microsoft on Tuesday released a software package aimed at hosting companies that includes the latest version of the company's database and .Net programming software. Microsoft Solution for Windows-based Hosting version 4.0 includes SQL Server 2005, which was released late last year, and ASP.Net 2.0, the most recent edition of its Web development software. The package also includes Visual Web Developer Express Edition, a free Web development tool.

"We're giving service providers the ability to easily host software-as-a-service applications and target the developers who are building them," said John Zanni, director of worldwide hosting at Microsoft, in a statement. In the past two years, Microsoft has boosted its efforts to convince hosting companies to use Windows-based software rather than Linux and other open-source components which are often used.