It feels like 1999 again when the ASP (application service provider) business model was all the rage. Why is Siebel trying this again when their most recent foray was a complete disaster? Bottom line: Salesforce.com is eating their lunch. Siebel's enterprise license revenue model is coming under real pressure as large enterprises are getting tired of spending millions of dollars upfront with no real ROI.
Could this be the return of the ASP model? In the old days, the promise and hype of many ASPs were as high as their burn rates. A number of these companies poured tens of millions of dollars into infrastructures that only had a handful of customers. The end result for most was disastrous. Despite the many failures, I am conjecturing that the ASP will be back in a BIG WAY for the following reasons: tight budgets, increased comfort level of customers to have data offsite, broadband connections allow for always-on access, and vendors with right-sized business models designed to make a profit. When and if the capital markets return, let's see how these companies perform.