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Application service start-up targets small businesses

Upstart application service provider vJungle.com launches a service targeting small businesses looking to rent, rather than purchase, software and services.

Upstart application service provider vJungle.com today launched a service targeting small businesses looking to rent, rather than purchase, software and services.

vJungle.com provides registered users with free access to company-wide email accounts, instant messaging technology, a company intranet, file sharing and storage software, a contact manager, a calendar and a Web site, the company said.

Fee-based applications will be introduced in spring 2000, the company said. No pricing was announced. These services will focus on human resources, payroll and telecommunications. The fee-based applications will be integrated with the free core services suite, allowing users to access all resources through one site, rather than linking to other sites or vendors.

The ASP, or "rent-an-app," market is still in its very early stages, but analysts expect it to take off as businesses adjust to the notion of outsourcing their software needs. Established firms such as Compaq, Microsoft and IBM have already given their nod to the idea, investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the budding industry. Market research firm Dataquest recently forecast that the ASP market would be worth nearly $23 billion by 2003.

vJungle.com claims it's differentiating itself from a large number of competitors by offering an integrated set of services.

The company was founded in May of last year and has operations in Seattle and Bombay, India.