There was a flurry of activity in the Magento Community today on Twitter, Reddit and StackOverflow as for about 4-5 hours, the Magento Community Edition download page - http://www.magentocommerce.com/download - was redirecting all users to a new page on Magento's site entitled 'Magento Community Edition Hosted Solution' - http://magento.com/products/magento-community-edition-hosted-solution - and preventing users from being able to download Magento's open source edition, the Magento Community Edition. As it has not yet been officially announced, little is known about the Magento Community Edition Hosted Solution yet beyond what that page and the corresponding FAQ page have to say. Some of the notable quotes from these pages are:
You get Magento Community Edition software pre-installed on a hosting service, design, integration support, and free extensions to quickly set up your store, increase sales and delight your customers.
Get key insights and grow your business with reports from aheadWorks
Increase conversion up to 18%* with PayPal Express Checkout
Reach 120 million eBay buyers with our exclusive listing service
The turnkey, hosted solution includes a beta version of Magento Community Edition 1.9, our latest release.
When filling out the form found on that page, if you say you don't need help developing your store, it recommends ZeroLag hosting, a Magento hosting provider. If you say you do need help developing your store, it lists 3 companies that can help and asks you to pick one. The interesting thing here is that despite the fact that the page says "We’ll match you to a Solution Partner to help design and configure your online store", 2 of the 3 companies currently listed on that page are not Magento Solution Partners, per the Magento Solution Partner directory. One of them appears to be a Magento Go partner, however.
My guess is that this is some sort of new approach to monetizing Magento Community Edition that will be announced at Magento Imagine (which happens in 2 weeks) and someone accidentally made the pages live 2 weeks early. This tells us, also, to expect a Magento 1.9 announcement at Magento Imagine.
I'm curious to see if they're using the existing M2E extension for the eBay integration, or if they've written a new one. And if a new one has been written, will it be included in the Magento 1.9 download available to all users, or will it be restricted to the new Magento Community Edition Hosted Solution? If it's not specific to Hosted, then this Magneto CE Hosted Solution appears to just be a way to bundle Magento CE with a referral to a hosting provider and a developer. I'm also curious to see how the hosting provider and developers listed on the page were selected, as it's an interesting combination of options currently listed there.