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UUNet, MS show hospitality

UUNet Technologies announces that it will become the first major ISP to use the Windows NT 4.0 Web-hosting service.

UUNet Technologies (UUNT) announced today that it will become the first major ISP to use the Windows NT 4.0 Web-hosting service, confirming a report by CNET last week.

Digex, another national ISP, also announced today that it was using the Windows NT 4.0 hosted Web server product line. Pricing for NT 4.0 hosting services starts at below $1,500 per month, said Earl Galleher, vice president and general manager for the Internet server products business unit at Digex.

UUNet executives said last week that they chose the Microsoft (MSFT) product for its quality and reliability, but they also acknowledged that the software giant owns a stake of more than 13 percent in the company.

Cameron Myhrvold, vice president of public network business development for Microsoft, added: "In continuing this relationship, Microsoft and UUNet have worked together to develop a premier environment for hosting Windows NT Server and BackOffice-based Web sites."

The partnership will grow tighter, potentially making UUNet not simply a petri dish but also a launch customer for many Microsoft products, a relationship that will give the software company an edge over chief competitor Netscape Communications in this market segment. Paul Hoffmann, manager of business development for UUNet, said no similar deals with Netscape are in the works.

The Microsoft-UUNet relationship will soon become more important in other ways. Just last week, WorldCom, the fourth-largest long distance carrier, proposed to buy UUNet's parent, MFS Communications, in a giant telecom merger. With industry deregulation, the telco market is a hot one for software and hardware companies alike.

Hoffmann also disclosed today that UUNet is a beta-test site for Microsoft's Merchant Server software that is designed to provide online shopping. It expects to offer the service commercially as well.

UUNet also plans to be one of the first users of Microsoft's Normandy tool, a collection of servers that let Web sites add features including chat capabilities, discussion forums, and custom information.

The Microsoft Network and CompuServe plan to use Normandy as the foundations for the Net versions of their online services.

UUNet's Windows Web hosting is based on Microsoft's newly released NT Server. Other features include the FrontPage 1.1 Web authoring and management tool; the latest version of the tool for creating Web sites; and Microsoft Index Server, a search engine.

Prices of dedicated NT Web hosting include a start-up fee of $5,000 and a monthly charge of $3,000. A shared service, at a lower price, will be available in early October.

The first two Web sites to be hosted on the UUNet Windows NT Server are Bass Ale and Things.com, a Web site where consumers can enter contests, buy merchandise, and find out about a myriad of companies, products, and services.

Microsoft bought its stake in UUNet in January 1995. In August, MFS bought UUNet, and this week WorldCom proposed to take over MFS.