Microsoft readies small business and mid-market server offerings

David Worthington
July 17, 2008 —  (Page 1 of 2)
Microsoft will be releasing an updated version of Windows Small Business Server, and is also introducing a new server product targeting the mid-market, in the fall.

On July 7 at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston, Microsoft announced that Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2008 and Windows Essential Business Server 2008 would become generally available on Nov. 12. Release candidates of both are presently available for evaluation purposes.

SBS 2008 will be available in two editions: “Standard,” which sells for US$1,089 with additional client access licenses (CAL) running $77 each; and “Premium,” which will cost $1,899 with CALs available for an additional $189 per license.

Both editions include Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server, SharePoint Services 3.0 and Windows Server Update Services 3.0, as well as trial subscriptions to Windows Live OneCare for Server and Office Live Small Business integration. Forefront Security for Exchange Server is part of the company’s Forefront security lineup, developed by Microsoft under the “Stirling” name and based on Sybari Antigen, which Microsoft acquired with its purchase of Sybari in June 2005.

The Premium edition will bundle the still-unreleased SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition  and a second instance of Windows Server 2008 Standard, for hosting SQL Server.

Customers may notice some higher sticker prices. Microsoft nearly doubled the cost of the SBS 2008 Standard edition by raising it almost $500 from SBS 2003’s $599, but it has also lowered the price of SBS Standard CALs from $90 (the existing price) to $77. This isn’t the first time Microsoft has tweaked the pricing for SBS; additional CALs were $60 when SBS 2003 first shipped.

Microsoft may have gotten the sense that the CALs for SBS were under-priced the first time around—no one has a comparable offering, said Rob Enderle, principal analyst of the Enderle Group. “We’ll see if the market takes it; the rule of thumb is that you can take prices down, but never back up.”

Enderle added that the present market conditions create a strong argument for customers to sign up for Microsoft’s Software Assurance subscription program, which offers price protection. Most small business customers do not participate in the program, he said.

Related Search Term(s): SharePoint Server, Windows Server, Microsoft

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