Microsoft Options Meet Unique IT Needs of Today’s Small-Business Customers

REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 10, 2005 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of two new ways for small businesses in the U.S. to more easily and affordably invest in technology solutions that drive enhanced business value for their firms.

The Microsoft® Office 2003 and Windows® Small Business Server 2003 IT Services Promotion is a way for businesses that purchase a minimum of five qualifying* Microsoft Office 2003 licenses or one Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 license, together or as stand-alone products, to receive subsidies from Microsoft to use toward information technology (IT) consultant services such as software installation, training and more.

The Small Business Platform SKU, a special offering designed for small businesses within the Open Value licensing program, simplifies the purchasing, use and management of the core software products that small businesses use today.

These offerings reflect the company’s overall and ongoing commitment to serving the dynamic, thriving small-business segment in the U.S.

“We’re serious about empowering small businesses with the technology, services and support necessary to help them thrive in a very competitive marketplace,” said Cindy Bates, general manager of the small-business division of Microsoft’s U.S. Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners Group. “Our customers demand flexibility and choices in how they purchase licensing agreements. Together with our IT consultants we’re making it easier for small businesses to make technology acquisition decisions that are right for their business.”

Subsidy Check Offer for Small Businesses Announced

For a limited time, businesses that acquire at least five qualifying* Microsoft Office 2003 licenses or one Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 license, together or separately, may qualify to receive an IT services subsidy check from Microsoft, payable to the IT consultant of their choice in the Microsoft Partner Program. Customers can apply these promotional funds toward services such as installation, deployment, risk and security assessments, and end-user training.

Drawing on the capabilities of each product, small businesses are better able to access, track and analyze customer information from one central and security-enhanced location, use professional templates to create marketing materials and business plans, stay connected to customers, help protect business data with automatic backups, and share critical business resources including printers, fax machines and phone lines.

Subsidies for small-business customers are as follows:

  • Companies that purchase a Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 license through Open Value may be eligible to receive $100 (U.S.) in IT services subsidy dollars per license.

  • Businesses that purchase at least five qualifying* Microsoft Office 2003 licenses through Open Value may be eligible to receive up to $100 (U.S.) in IT services subsidy dollars per license.

  • Businesses that purchase a minimum of both five qualifying* Microsoft Office 2003 licenses and one Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 license through Open Value may be eligible to receive up to $125 (U.S.) in IT services subsidy dollars per license.

An SKU for Today’s Small Businesses

As part of a companywide effort to better meet the unique IT needs of small businesses, Microsoft will provide customers and partners with a deeper degree of flexibility and choice in how they invest in licensing agreements. Key to this effort is the Small Business Desktop Platform, part of the enhanced Open Value licensing offer, which provides an easier and cost-effective way for small businesses to acquire the software that can best help them build their businesses. The Small Business Platform SKU provides a license for every PC in the company for Microsoft Office 2003 Small Business Edition, a Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 Client Access License and Microsoft Windows XP Professional Upgrade, all with up to three years of Software Assurance benefits. This offering has an estimated retail price of $922 (U.S.) per PC, equating to an overall 28 percent platform discount beyond the discounted pricing already built into the Open Value license program. The platform is designed to help businesses manage their licenses more easily, save money and more efficiently manage cash flow. For customers that choose the new platform SKU, the three years of Software Assurance benefits that are included will provide free upgrades to Microsoft Windows Vista™ and Microsoft Office “12” when those products are released.

To ensure that small-business customers can take full advantage of these offerings and have adequate time to plan for implementing associated benefits, Microsoft also announced a significantly enhanced Software Assurance offering, scheduled to be available in March 2006. Software Assurance is a maintenance offering that goes beyond upgrade and support contracts standard in the technology industry. Software Assurance benefits customers in a number of ways. During the term of the agreement, customers will have a cost-effective way to take advantage of Microsoft’s product upgrades. They will have access to an integrated set of support services, deployment tools and training resources that create business value while also helping reduce cost.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

* Qualifying Microsoft Office licenses include Office Professional Edition 2003 and Office Small Business Edition 2003 when purchased through the Small Business Platform SKU. For full terms and conditions see http://www.microsoftincentives.com.

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