Andrew brought up some good points by way of an illustration that I quickly transcribed. Look at Figure 1, we have two key pieces of technology... our server appliances which are easy-to-use, preinstalled and preconfigured... just what our SBS customers want. Our other technology is our security technologies that appeal to security-minded customers.
Now, we should be able to form business relationships with companies like Checkpoint that are security-minded, and with companies like Compaq that want to sell to SBS customers.
However, targeting a market that leverages our strengths in both technology areas will be the most effective and efficient.
Enter our ISP Product ... those who care about security and ease-of-use.
However, we have really missed the boat on our ISP product. We have assumed that our target audience was an ISP's system and network administrators. It is clear from Rackspace and Brian Budd (our only two market research data acquisitions), that what they really want is a product that they then turn around and rent or sell to their customers. We need to make the experience of the "domain owner" richer and more fulfilling.
Therefore, the companies that we need to partner with, should be, first of all, those companies that enhance our ISP product first, followed by companies that enhance our SMB and security products.
Note: If you want those pictures for any reason, just click on them to get a higher resolution image... You may even be able to finally read the words. :-)

Company Criteria

Here is the criteria for potential companies that I think we should think about partnering with in the first phase of development. Eventually, we should be able to add just about anyone in the world to this list, but initially, we should think about companies that fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Enhance the ISP and SMB Products. The rationale is pretty straightforward, but if we do not have apps for these markets, we may not have sellable apps in any other market.
  2. Able to convert an ISP to an ASP. This is more difficult to quantify, but since many ISPs are wanting to convert their business model to a more value-added ASP, then we should help them get there. 
  3. Appliance-oriented Applications. Applications and products from companies who make their money on consultation than on sales (especially those who do not offer product support), will be difficult to productize  and resell through our Byosa channel. What I mean here, is that all products should be able to be integrated into an appliance or we shouldn't form a relationship.
  4. Willing Participants. There is no reason to list companies such as Oracle, who have different distribution channels than we do. If the partner company doesn't gain anything from us, they won't be willing to make a deal.

Company List

The following is my list of initial business partners.Keep in mind that this is still just an initial list and is meant for brainstorming purposes. I have purposely left out many large players, because I feel that we should start with small companies first, and if we can actually come up with both the business model and the technical integration model that works for a small company, then we will be in a better position to attempt a strategy with a large company.

Company Product Description URL Prices
Halcyon Instant ASP Active Server Pages Server $500-1500
  Note: This company offers a product that allows a user to run ASP files on Linux. ASP files are typically only able to be run on Microsoft platforms, and is one of the few lacking areas for a Linux system (when it comes to Web services).
IBM Websphere/DB-2 J2EE-compliant Application Server $9500+
  Note: IBM, with their commitment to Linux, would be a good fit. Especially since they have a "total web package" that includes their application server, a database server, and all the support utilities.
ObjectNet iShopping Wizard Store Front/Shopping Cart $900
  Note: Zelerate, while popular, is trying to make money off of giving the product away and selling support services. This is not our business. We want something that we can sell and not have to support. This is why we need to look at a shopping cart system that easy to set up and doesn't require any programming. This is one such product, but there are countless others. This is on large application that I can actually envision us writing because every shopping cart system that I have seen so far is awful to use and administrate.
Motorola Openwings Back-end Service Integrator No price yet
  Note: This is a future thinking product that will, in my opinion, be a big player for getting us into "big web site" arena. This product will get multiple services, running on multiple platforms, to be accessible in a robust, scaleable and distributed manner. While this product/project is still in the alpha stages, I think we should look at getting involved.

Final Thoughts

There are many other companies that, on some level, could have been added to this list. For instance, Allaire has a very popular application server, Coldfusion that runs on Linux. They also have a total web server package ... from the application server to their Homesite HTML editor on the client. However, I don't think we need to bother with this company because they don't really need us.

Also, I really think that we should concentrate first on open-source projects, as these will be more available and considerably easier to integrate into our product.

Finally, we must have a database and application server, and working with IBM may or may not fly, we should have some backup companies (as there are many of them), but concentrate on grabbing an open-source project that we can integrate tightly into our product (read RNAify it), to make our product look better.