Today Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008) and Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (EBS 2008), their bundles of server software for small and medium businesses (SMB):
Large enterprises typically have specialists on staff with the technical knowledge, budgets and time needed to manage IT environments — a luxury small and midsize businesses can rarely afford. Based on feedback directly from customers, SBS and EBS greatly help reduce the setup and ongoing management of IT, while enabling new scenarios to enhance end-user productivity, as well as saving companies money on license costs.
To ease customer concerns about the initial investment cost of rolling out new infrastructure technology, Microsoft has developed licensing and financing options that allow flexible payment terms from 24 months to 60 months. Both SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 are priced significantly less for qualified customers than it would cost to separately purchase products similar to those included in SBS 2008 and EBS 2008, and Microsoft is offering financing for the hardware, software and partner professional services.
Partners are a big part of sales to SMB, often with VARs selling turnkey industry specific software riding on top, so Microsoft is courting them heavily (as usual) as well as software and hardware developers. There are more details on the contents of the various flavors of these offerings in our earlier post on the subject or at the homepage for Microsoft’s Essential Server Solutions which is Microsoft’s new umbrella term covering SMB server products.