Archive for April, 2009

Microsoft SMB Insight Survey

This is a very interesting report on SMB that I saw on Nick King’s blog  (who is a Technical Product Manager for Microsoft)

The “Microsoft SMB Insight Report” reflects the insight of Small Business Specialists from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France and Brazil. The following are some of Microsoft’s key findings on the technologies most likely to drive growth and profitability for SMBs in 2009

It seems to validate Microsoft’s approach to SMB and the shift towards more Online Services as articulated by SBSC Partners from a number of countries across the World.

It is well worth a read and seeing some of the trends and insights.

Windows Server 2008 Foundation

I thought about whether to blog about this or not. I am never really too bothered about companies bringing out new products/services. I’ve seen too many releases of various things to get worked up by them. However, it has been quite disappointing that Microsoft could reveal details of this product to its MVPs at the recent MVP Summit under NDA but couldn’t do the same with the SBSC PALs. To be fair, Microsoft, has in the past shared many things with the PALs which they hadn’t shared with even their Subs and Field people, so it has to be seen within the wider context. Nevertheless, quite disappointing!

Emily has some info here but it is not currently available in the UK and as I understand a date for availability here  cannot yet be given. It kind of goes against the fact of having this all under NDA  until release, to announce it officially and then not be able to answer questions such as availability in your region, Partner readiness, etc.

It will be available only via OEM and may only be through certain distributors. I have no real issues with it from what I understand of it from a technical viewpoint. There is a couple of interesting points for me, which are :

Available only as OEM is an acknowledgement that Small Businesses buy this way and the majority of SBSC Partners sell this way. It’s something we’ve been saying for many years, so maybe the penny has finally dropped with Microsoft! Although, I would be interested to find out if Software Assurance will be available on it within 90 days of OEM purchase. It’s also a fact that Microsoft Licensing is too complex for most small businesses and often see it as  punitive in its pricing.

It gives a platform for Microsoft’s Online Services such as BPOS. Let’s make no mistake, Microsoft is not stopping along the “Online” route and there is little if anything that is going to change that. SBSC Partners cannot shift enough of Microsoft’s Products/Licenses for their liking. This is fact, you just have to live with it. Most SBSC Partners make their money from service/support revenues, they will never have a major impact on Microsoft’s licensing revenues. BPOS is a direct relationship between end users and Microsoft and Foundation Server is there to support that strategy.

SBSC is only a component of Microsoft’s overall Small Business Strategy, they are attacking SMB on multiple fronts. If Microsoft is prepared to compete against it’s larger Partners such as Hosters, Anti-virus vendors then do you think they are going to think twice about competing with SBSC Partners?

Foundation Server will probably help to make some deals in the current climate you would’ve found hard to close with SBS 2008. It does make you think whether the price increases in SBS 2008 over SBS 2003 were to make a large differential between Foundation Server and to make the latter more attractive. I’m sure Foundation Server was in the planning for a while but I’m sure we’ll never find that out.

For Microsoft people this is their job but for us it is our livelihood supporting our families and employees, so we have to get clever about how we tackle the markets we operate in!

Karl Palachuk has some good thoughts on this as does Harry Brelsford. Susan Bradley has some technical links to Technet information.

UPDATE

I just noticed that Andy Parkes has posted on this as well.

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