REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 23, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today rolled out Microsoft® Small Business +, a suite of free, personalized online resources and technical support offerings — including a 45-day free trial of unlimited advanced technical support options that customers can choose to purchase — designed to help small businesses succeed in applying technology in their businesses. Fueled by customer feedback, Small Business + is evidence of Microsoft’s continued commitment to delivering solutions and resources designed for small businesses.
“It can be tempting to just throw new technology at small businesses, but that’s not the way to succeed,” said Ray Boggs, vice president for small and medium business research at IDC. “After all, the majority of firms with under 50 employees don’t have full-time IT staff, and can get very frustrated very quickly when things don’t work as planned. Microsoft Small Business + provides a lifeline for when problems develop and, just as important, it will build greater customer confidence in using new technology — and also in turning to Microsoft for answers even before questions come up.”
Small Business + is an extension of Microsoft’s Small Business Center Web site, which provides a broad array of resources for small companies. Small Business + builds on this foundation to provide members with a personalized experience. Customers complete a short registration to join, gaining free access to some offerings that are personalized to their needs based on their registration information. Small Business + can be accessed in the United States at http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness. It will also be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Training Helps Small Businesses Get the Most From Their Microsoft Software
According to AMI-Partners Inc.’s worldwide survey of small businesses, IT staff training and skills enhancement rank as one of their top 10 IT priorities. Small Business + supports this priority by providing personalized software training courses that help small businesses increase their productivity by more fully utilizing Microsoft Office applications such as Excel®, PowerPoint® and Outlook®. Also included is a training library developed by third-party experts to help small-business owners and their employees improve role-based skills such as marketing, technology management and financial management.
Quick, Easy Access to Resources Helps Answer Small-Business Support Questions
Customers also can take advantage of the following resources on Small Business +:
Small Business Help Desk provides self-help and assisted support offerings. This includes a single place for customers to quickly find answers to common support questions, find the latest service packs for their products or watch webcasts delivered by Microsoft support experts.
Small Business Quick Advice is a dedicated support resource for customers available in real time using live-chat technology to answer a broad range of questions from basic troubleshooting to how-to-use questions.
Small Business Expert Help provides more advanced technical issue problem-solving such as networking or server problems and can be addressed through one of several steeply discounted support packages offered exclusively as part of Small Business +. The discounted offerings provide significant savings off other available options from Microsoft and include combinations of both live chat and phone-based support. New members receive a 45-day free trial of the unlimited live-chat advanced support offerings available for purchase.
“We believe Small Business + will quickly become a valuable resource to our community of small-business customers,” said Doug Leland, general manager for small business for the Worldwide Small and Midsize Solutions & Partner Group at Microsoft. “We are committed to helping small businesses build connections to quickly and easily identify resources and technology partners that can support them. Resources such as Small Business +, Small Business Center and the Small Business Specialist Community are evidence of this work.”
When visiting the site, customers also will have an opportunity to learn more about Microsoft’s upcoming Small Business Summit on March 14, 2006. Designed to be an informational event for customers, Small Business Summit will feature industry experts, Microsoft executives, IT consultants and other small-business owners who have successfully leveraged Microsoft technology to run their businesses. The summit will cover topics ranging from sales and marketing and financial management to productivity, mobility and computer security, and will include product demonstrations. When customers register for the Small Business Summit, they will have the option to simultaneously sign up for Small Business +. Customers can learn more about the Small Business Summit at http://www.sbsummit.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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