As Microsoft continues its aggressive push into the SMB space, it’s found a tool to help its small business customers, while at the same time adding value to its partner relationships.
The Microsoft Office 2003 and Windows Small Business Server 2003 IT Services Promotion is a way for businesses that purchase a minimum of five qualifying Microsoft Office 2003 licenses or one Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 license, together or as stand-alone products, to receive subsidies from Microsoft to use toward information technology (IT) consultant services such as software installation, training and more.
“We’re serious about empowering small businesses with the technology, services and support necessary to help them thrive in a very competitive marketplace,” said Cindy Bates, general manager of the small-business division of Microsoft’s U.S. Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners Group. “Our customers demand flexibility and choices in how they purchase licensing agreements. Together with our IT consultants we’re making it easier for small businesses to make technology acquisition decisions that are right for their business.”
In addition Microsoft announced today that as part of a companywide effort to better meet the unique IT needs of small businesses, Microsoft will provide customers and partners with a deeper degree of flexibility and choice in how they invest in licensing agreements. Key to this effort is the Small Business Desktop Platform, part of the enhanced Open Value licensing offer, which provides an easier and cost-effective way for small businesses to acquire the software that can best help them build their businesses. The Small Business Platform SKU provides a license for every PC in the company for Microsoft Office 2003 Small Business Edition, a Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 Client Access License and Microsoft Windows XP Professional Upgrade, all with up to three years of Software Assurance benefits. This offering has an estimated retail price of $922 (U.S.) per PC, equating to an overall 28 percent platform discount beyond the discounted pricing already built into the Open Value license program. The platform is designed to help businesses manage their licenses more easily, save money and more efficiently manage cash flow. For customers that choose the new platform SKU, the three years of Software Assurance benefits that are included will provide free upgrades to Microsoft Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 12 when those products are released.
Many businesses have resisted Microsoft’s licensing programs as too heavy handed and forcing them to upgrade when they don’t want to. However for those small businesses that want to ensure they have the latest technology, including the upcoming Windows Vista (the upgrade to Windows XP) being able to pay for software and stretch the payments over three years can be an incentive.