Even though airlines fit the model for an ASP, we generally do not refer to airlines as ASPs. The terms "ASP" and "Application Service Provider" are applied specifically to companies that provide services via the Internet. In most cases, the term ASP has come to denote companies that supply software applications and/or software-related services over the Internet.
Here are the most common features of an ASP:
- The ASP owns and operates a software application.
- The ASP owns, operates and maintains the servers that run the application. The ASP also employs the people needed to maintain the application.
- The ASP makes the application available to customers everywhere via the Internet, either in a browser or through some sort of "thin client."
- The ASP bills for the application either on a per-use basis or on a monthly/annual fee basis. In many cases, however, the ASP can provide the service for free or will even pay the customer.