Microsoft has upgraded its hosted messaging and collaboration suite.

Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration 3.5, used by Microsoft service provider partners to host e-mail and collaboration services for small-to-medium-sized businesses, is comprised mainly of Microsoft's Exchange, Windows SharePoint Services and Live Communications Server 2005.

The suite is available on a hosted basis to partners in Microsoft's Windows Hosted program along with technical support and guidelines for deployment. There currently are about 9,000 service providers in the program, said Stephan Schirrecker, director of hosting for Microsoft. The partners use the suite to sell services to SMBs, such as e-mail support and other services to increase worker productivity, he said.

The upgrade includes support for software updates that have been made available since the last release of the hosted product, including Exchange Server 2003 SP2, Windows Server 2003 SP1 and Live Communications Server 2005 SP1, said Morgan Cole, a senior product manager at Microsoft.

Exchange Server 2003 SP2 boasts push e-mail but requires Windows Mobile 5.0. The update also includes ActiveDirectory synchronisation, simplifying password management.