Microsoft Slates October Launch For Mid-Market Server Bundle

Microsoft will launch its much-anticipated mid-market Windows server bundle October 1, starting at under $6,500 for 50 users.

August 24, 2005

4 Min Read
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Microsoft plans to launch promotional pricing for its mid-market Windows bundle on October 1 starting at just under $6,500 for 50 users.

The U.S. price of $6,444 for 50 users represents a 20 percent discount off the Open License pricing for the bundle. The new pricing will be available via Microsoft Open Value.

On Tuesday, Microsoft Vice President of U.S. Business Partner Group Margo Day told partners attending the Microsoft World Premiere event at XChange that the bundle, comprising Windows Server Standard, Exchange Server Standard and MOM (Microsoft Operations Manager) Workgroup Edition along with 50 midmarket client licenses for Windows and Exchange, will start at $6,444, a 20 percent discount from the individually priced products. The bundletargets companies with 50 to 250 PCs. Microsoft is also offering a new client license of $76.80 per client that includes a single Windows and Exchange Server CAL. Microsoft Small Business Server topped out at 75 users and company executives have long acknowledged the need for an attractive package for larger companies.

The goal is to penetrate medium-sized entities as Microsoft's popular Small Business Server has smaller companies.

"This is a huge breakthrough," said Day. "The success partners have had with Small Business Server has just been gargantuan. This has the same kind of potential. It is a great entry price offering for customers and they are going to look to partners to customize it for the midmarket."Day said the breakthrough lies in the seamless integration of the individual products into an easy to set-up midmarket bundle. "We've done a lot of work with this midmarket server," she said. "The ease of use is really important." The offering will be backed by a multimillion dollar marketing campaign, said Day.

Microsoft partners at XChange, sponsored by CMP Media's Channel Group, said the product opens the door for a potential midmarket windfall. They predicted that the new offering will help spark upgrades from older server platforms.

"This is a big opportunity for Microsoft partners," said Brian Okun, director of strategic partnerships for Chips Computer Consulting LLC, a Lake Success, N.Y., Microsoft partner. "Typically in that environment you are not just deploying one license, you are deploying multiple licenses. Microsoft is making that barrier of entry lower. From our perspective that 20 percent savings can be spent on implementation rather than a software purchase."

Laurie Benson, CEO of Inacom Information Systems, a Madison, Wisc., Microsoft partner, said the product represents a "substantive" revenue opportunity for Microsoft partners. "We can sell our services all around this," she said. "There is really unlimited potential for this product. This is huge for the medium sized market."

Benson said that there is strong double digit sales growth potential in the midmarket segment, but few companies have tailored products for that market. "This is something specific for our many midsized clients," she said. "These customers want to be acknowledged for what they are. They are not small business. They are not enterprise. They are cost sensitive but want the advantages of the technology. The message that Microsoft acknowledges that medium size business is important is a huge message."Shiv Kumar, vice president of business development for ZSL Inc., an Edison, N.J., solution provider, said the midmarket bundle could increase his revenue by about 30 percent. Kumar said the bigger opportunity presented by the bundle is the upselling opportunities it enables in areas such as business intelligence solutions and sales force automation with mobile and wireless links. "This is just a platform," said Kumar. "I am going to focus on the upsell opportunities."

Microsoft partners said that the midmarket offering is poised to capitalize on the success partners have had with Microsoft Small Business Server. "We have had tremendous success with that Small Business Server product," said Benson. She said one of the benefits of the offering is how sharply focused it is on the midmarket customer. "These customers are no longer being treated like small businesses or enterprise businesses," said Benson, touting the new product. "They are being treated like midmarket customers. The integration work that Microsoft has done on the bundle is huge. It is packaged to work right together. It is ready to go. It allows us to give our customers a complete solution out of the box."

Note: This story was updated Wednesday afternoon with more details on promotional pricing. A Microsoft spokeswoman said the bundle itself has been available since last month.

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