Microsoft Offers Small Business Package with a Partner Twist
- By Scott Bekker
Microsoft on Monday unveiled two new financial incentives designed to get U.S.
small businesses more deeply invested in Microsoft infrastructure -- while
helping partners in the process.
Microsoft has created a Small Business SKU within the Open Value licensing
program. The SKU combines a Windows XP upgrade, Office 2003 Small Business Edition
and a Client Access License (CAL) for Windows Small Business Server 2003 for
$922. The price represents a discount of 28 percent versus buying the products
separately under the Open Value licensing program, says Cindy Bates, general
manager of U.S. small business for Microsoft.
The offer includes up to three years of Software Assurance benefits, which
will cover upgrades to Windows Vista and Microsoft Office "12" when
those products ship. Vista and Office 12 are scheduled for availability in late
Microsoft is also offering an incentive for small businesses to employ the
services of Microsoft partners under a program called the Microsoft Office 2003
and Windows Small Business Server 2003 IT Services Promotion. Under the promotion,
Microsoft will send customers who buy Office and SBS a check, made out to a
Microsoft partner, good for services from that partner. Covered services include
installation, deployment, risk and security assessments, and end-user training.
The greatest subsidy goes to customers that buy at least one SBS license and
five Office licenses together under an Open Value deal. Such customers will
get a discount of $125 on each copy of SBS and Office, plus $30 off the client
access license (CAL), Bates says. The Office and CAL discounts come to $155
per desktop, she notes, adding that the maximum discount per customer is $10,000.
Customers that buy separately get a discount of $100 off SBS and $100 off each
copy when they buy at least five copies of Office.
"I think it's going to be a huge benefit to the customer,"
says Laura Spruill, an account manager with Technology Associates, a computer
consulting firm in Cary, N.C., of the services subsidies. "A lot of times
small businesses don't have the funds for an outside consulting company.
This helps them get their network set up right and updated properly."
Bates also mentioned that the new, streamlined Open Value licensing process
that Microsoft was talking up at its Worldwide Partner Conference in July has
now taken effect, reducing the ordering process "from days to minutes."
Spruill says the combination of Open Value and the new small business SKU should be a boon for small businesses."It will allow them to track licenses
better and spread payments over three years," she notes.
Details on the partner services promotion are available at https://partner.microsoft.com/us/sbsofficeoffer.
Additional reporting by Paul Desmond
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.