Business software maker PeopleSoft Inc. officially launched a center for hosting applications and services this week, in an effort to gain ground in a market segment many industry observers see as rapidly expanding over the next several years. The Pleasanton, Calif., firm's application service provider (ASP) initiatives should bring in nearly half of PeopleSoft's license revenues within the next two to three years, says CEO Craig Conway. The new service, dubbed PeopleSoft eCenter, will operate and maintain PeopleSoft's applications for customers who don't want to run the software themselves. Initially, PeopleSoft plans to offer its human resources management, financial management, and procurement software through the center, but in the second half of this year, it will expand its offerings to customer relationship management, supply chain, and other software applications. PeopleSoft also plans to host Web marketplaces for business-to-business commerce though its eCenter.