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Gates, Ballmer to Lay Out Midsize Business Roadmap

Microsoft's top two executives will lay out a roadmap for customers in midsize businesses next Wednesday at the first Microsoft Business Summit.

Chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer will deliver keynote addresses to provide an update of Microsoft's vision, strategy and technology road map for midsize businesses.

Attending the conference at Microsoft's Redmond campus will be midsize business customers and Microsoft partners.

Microsoft defines midsize businesses as companies with between 26 and 500 desktops. For Microsoft, this business segment is a growing area of focus that has had little direct attention from the company in the past. Microsoft's direct sales efforts concentrate on enterprise customers, and the company has also tailored specific products such as Windows Small Business Server 2003 directly for very small customers.

Microsoft relies primarily on partners to make sales in and deliver solutions to the midmarket. While the partner delivery model doesn't appear to be changing, Microsoft is making a greater effort to provide software packages designed specifically with midmarket customers in mind.

A first step in that direction came in July when the company rolled out a discounted, three-server solution called the Windows Server System promotion for midsized businesses. The $6,400 package bundles three copies of Windows Server 2003, a copy of Exchange Server 2003, a Workgroup Edition of Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 and 50 special Client Access Licenses covering both Windows and Exchange.

At the time, the company also launched the Midsized IT Business Center on TechNet and published the "Windows Server System Deployment Guide for Midsized Businesses."

About the Author

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

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