Now that Yahoo is facing a $45 billion unsolicited takeover offer from Microsoft, we can expect to see a flurry of actions designed to help Yahoo expand its business and possibly fend off Redmond -- or at least show shareholders its intent to do so.
It's not exactly a game-changing move, but Yahoo just announced it will sell unlimited Web site storage and network usage to SMBs for a flat monthly fee of $11.95. According to a Reuters story published on ZDNet, SMBs will get unlimited hard disk space, data transfer and e-mail storage under the new plan.
With more than 1.5 million customers, Yahoo is already the largest provider of hosting services for SMBs with Web sites. That's about a third of existing SMB Web sites, says an AMI Research analyst. The new flat fee should help Yahoo lure at least some customers from Web-hosting competitors -- and possibly help it attract SMBs that have not yet gone online.
Under the traditional model for Web hosting, customers pay more as their storage and networking needs grow. Previously, Yahoo offered three tiers of monthly service, priced at $11.95, $24.95 and $34.95. Monthly hosting fees from competitor GoDaddy.com range from $3.99 to $14.99, but with limits imposed on disk space and data transfers.
Microsoft offers Web hosting through its Office Live service. Monthly fees range from free to $39.95, though Microsoft tries to entice customers at the high end of the scale by adding online business software applications.
A competitor to both Yahoo and Microsoft is Google, whose Google Apps offers Web hosting, e-mail storage and a number of business applications. Interestingly, Google has pledged to help Yahoo block Microsoft's bid, according to a number of published reports.
If all of the options seem confusing, this September 2006 E-Commerce Times article provides a thorough list of tips on selecting a Web hosting provider.