An Early Look at Open-Xchange’s Upcoming Hosted Web Desktop

An Early Look at Open-Xchange’s Upcoming Hosted Web Desktop

on April 13, 2011


A screenshot of the Web Desktop’s “app grid” navigation

Related Topics: new products, software and tools

With the explosion of cloud technologies moving the industry forward, and with companies increasingly developing applications in the cloud, hosting providers, and the services that deal with the hosting business, are looking for new ways to use the cloud in distributing or supporting their services.

Messaging and collaboration provider Open-Xchange ( is just one of the many companies embracing the cloud. Later this year, the company will release its much anticipated Web Desktop, a centralized interface designed to manage and use any SaaS application on any device with Internet access.

And while the concept of a virtual or hosted desktop is not a new idea, the company believes its hosted desktop product is a cut above.

A team of 12 employees at Open-Xchange have been developing the project for nearly a year and a half. Teaming up with 1&1 Internet (, the company took a few months to thoroughly research the project.

“We came up with this concept of the Web desktop that has the same desktop functionality as banner stands a Windows or Mac machine inside the browser window,” says Laguna. “It really came out of talking to all our service providers. Open-Xchange usually comes in when people contemplate how they can sell more to their customer based, how they improve customer retention, and how they can win more customers. They realized upselling works well, but were having troubles with cross-selling.

At Parallels Summit 2011, CEO Rafael Laguna previewed a “pre-Beta” version of Web Desktop, showing the ins and outs of the new application in a live demo.

Taking its cue from Apple iOS, both in design interface and overall functionality, Web Desktop allows users to bring all their applications into a centralized dashboard that recreates the desktop experience.

When users launch an application, it automatically takes up the entire window while the Open-Xchange navigation banner rests at the top of the window.

Users can navigate from the home screen to their various apps by clicking and dragging the icon to the left or right.

Taking the Apple iOS inspiration one step further, Web Deskotp enables ISVs to add and sell their own SaaS products via Open-Xchange App Store.

And this is definitely the most enticing benefit for service providers when it banner stands comes to Web Desktop, having the ability to sell and up-sell their applications to customers.

“Email is probably used 20 percent of the time during the day, whereas a desktop is used 100 percent,” says Laguna. “So you’re getting more face time to your end-users and more opportunity to up-sell your services. And we’ll get a cut of the upsell just like we do with Open-Xchange.”

Web Desktop will offer for service providers, end-users, and of course, Open-Xchange, which stands to gain the most from the offering.

Aside from revenue gains, the new product will help expand its brand presence, acting as a “home base” for service providers and end-users alike.

“Web Desktop will most likely be offered on the same ‘freemium’ model that we offer with webmail,” says Laguna. “Our approach is to leave our infrastructure in place and provide the product as more or less a free part of their packages. And then with the in-application up-sell, we’re upgrading people to the paid business-class version that has support for iPhones and Android and Outlook and sharing capabilities.”

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