Microsoft Corp. today rolled out Microsoft® Small Business +, a suite of free, personalized online resources and technical support offerings — including a 45-day free trial of unlimited advanced technical support options that customers can choose to purchase — designed to help small businesses succeed in applying technology in their businesses. Fueled by customer feedback, Small Business + is evidence of Microsoft’s continued commitment to delivering solutions and resources designed for small businesses.
Small Business + is an extension of Microsoft’s Small Business Center Web site, which provides a broad array of resources for small companies. Small Business + builds on this foundation to provide members with a personalized experience. Customers complete a short registration to join, gaining free access to some offerings that are personalized to their needs based on their registration information. Small Business + can be accessed in the United States at http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness. It will also be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Resources offered include
Small Business Help Desk provides self-help and assisted support offerings. This includes a single place for customers to quickly find answers to common support questions, find the latest service packs for their products or watch webcasts delivered by Microsoft support experts.
Small Business Quick Advice is a dedicated support resource for customers available in real time using live-chat technology to answer a broad range of questions from basic troubleshooting to how-to-use questions.
Small Business Expert Help provides more advanced technical issue problem-solving such as networking or server problems and can be addressed through one of several steeply discounted support packages offered exclusively as part of Small Business +. The discounted offerings provide significant savings off other available options from Microsoft and include combinations of both live chat and phone-based support. New members receive a 45-day free trial of the unlimited live-chat advanced support offerings available for purchase.
The site also has information on the upcoming Microsoft Small Business Summit scheduled for March 14, 2006.
Microsoft Small Business + seems to be a horizontal marketing effort across all relevant Microsoft product lines that directly targets individual SMBs, although there is also some help provided in finding Microsoft partners who specialize in small businesses.