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BizTalk Server 2004 Pricing Unveiled

Microsoft on Wednesday disclosed plans to hold pricing relatively steady for the next release of its integration-focused BizTalk Server 2004, which is scheduled to ship early next year.

BizTalk Server 2004 will come in the same four editions that Microsoft delivered for BizTalk Server 2002 -- Enterprise, Standard, Partner and Developer. The price is unchanged for the Enterprise Edition (starting at $25,000 per CPU), the Standard Edition ($7,000 per CPU) and the Partner Edition ($1,000 per CPU).

Microsoft is hiking the price for the Developer Edition by 50 percent from $500 per user in BizTalk Server 2002 to $750 per user in BizTalk Server 2004. One change that helps account for the difference is the inclusion of Visual Studio .NET 2003 in all SKUs of BizTalk Server 2004. That makes for an especially good deal for the Developer Edition because Visual Studio starts at more than $1,000. BizTalk Server 2004 features much tighter integration with Visual Studio than the first two versions, which had their own development environment.

Both the Standard and Partner editions will support more trading partner and internal application connections in the 2004 version of BizTalk. The 2004 Standard Edition supports 20 trading partners and 10 internal applications. The 2002 limits were 10 trading partners and five internal applications. The Partner Edition, designed for smaller companies or suppliers who must use BizTalk to communicate with a larger customer that has standardized on the product, had its limits raised 50 percent. The 2002 version supported two trading partners and two internal applications. The 2004 version supports three of each.

Among other licensing, packaging and distribution changes announced for the 2004 version is the inclusion of a promotional copy of Microsoft's new XML client, Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003, for each CPU worth of BizTalk Server 2004. Eron Kelly, a manager of business management and strategy for Microsoft's E-business servers, says Microsoft hopes the copy of InfoPath will encourage developers to try using the client in BizTalk-based applications.

Also, BizTalk Server 2004 will ship in nine languages instead of the four languages offered with the 2002 version. Supported languages are English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Italian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and Korean.

Microsoft normally waits until its release to manufacturing date to discuss pricing, but BizTalk Server 2004 has not yet reached that stage. About 250 of the 3,000 BizTalk customers are testing a final version of the product.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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