Expect a good deal of content, articles, podcasts, etc, etc to be released on this blog shortly.  From http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2006/jul06/07-11SBS03LaunchPR.mspx:

Small Businesses, Get Ready: Microsoft Announces Launch of Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2

Second version of award-winning SBS 2003 expands partner revenue opportunities, provides new value for customers.

BOSTON — July 11, 2006 — Today in his keynote address at the Microsoft® Worldwide Partner Conference 2006, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the launch of Windows® Small Business Server 2003 R2 and unveiled new pricing details for the product. Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 is an advanced solution for productivity and security designed specifically to meet the needs of small-business owners, many of which do not currently have a server. It includes new features such as the “Green Check” of software health that helps customers protect their vital business data; keep networks, PCs and servers up to date; and stay connected virtually from anywhere, anytime — all leading to increased efficiency, cost savings and peace of mind.

Available for purchase starting in August, Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition will be available for an estimated retail price (ERP) of $599 and Premium Edition will be available for $1,299 ERP, over a 13 percent price reduction as compared with Windows Small Business Server 2003 Premium Edition. Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 will also be available pre-installed later this summer through original equipment manufacturers, including Dell Inc., Fujitsu Siemens Computers, Gateway Inc., HP and IBM, and will be available in 18 languages.

“Server technology is not a luxury that’s available only for large companies with equally large budgets and specialized IT staff,” said Steven VanRoekel, director of the Windows Server Solutions Group at Microsoft. “With Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2, customers can afford to meet their increasing needs for better security, organization and access. And with the help of an IT partner, they can also ensure that this doesn’t add complexity to everyday business.”

SBS 2003 R2 Is the Right Server for Small-Business Customer Requirements

Small-business owners are increasingly demanding technology that will allow them to efficiently and cost-effectively protect their data, appear more professional, and work from anywhere. Because of this growing need, IDC, based on a series of studies commissioned by Microsoft, estimates that more than 600,000 first-server deployments will be conducted in small businesses between 2005 and 2009 in the U.S. alone. Globally, more than 1 million installations are expected during the same time period.

Built specifically to meet the needs of small businesses, Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 provides customers not only with enhanced security through the “Green Check” of software health and automated patch and update services for all Microsoft Update supported products in the network, but also improved flexibility with increased mailbox limits (from 16 to 75 GB) to allow for greater e-mail storage. With Exchange Server 2003 SP2 technology, SBS 2003 R2 customers can also take advantage of new mobility benefits after integration with Windows Mobile®-based devices, such as direct push technology, which enables near real-time access to information in Microsoft Office Outlook®, in addition to password policy management and remote device wipe to enhance protection of data. To help customers reduce costs and provide more room for growth, Microsoft is expanding Client Access License (CAL) rights, entitling SBS 2003 R2 (Standard or Premium) customers to access additional Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and Microsoft SQL Server™ 2005 Workgroup Edition servers in the SBS 2003 R2 network with the SBS CAL.

For SBS 2003 R2 Premium Edition customers, SQL Server 2005 Workgroup Edition provides a powerful, integrated data management and reporting solution. With features such as Management Studio, import/export functionality, limited replication publishing and backup log-shipping, it is the ideal choice for organizations that need an affordable full-size database.

“Prior to receiving a total tech makeover, we spent a lot of time trying to find information,” said Judith Huck, president of Classique Floors. “Our previous system was a combination of papers in a job file, shared folders that we couldn’t all use at the same time, and a backup system that was overloaded. We had a huge concern over losing work. Now, with Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2, we’ve dramatically simplified our working environment, reducing clutter, lost paperwork and noise. As a result we’ve increased efficiency and sales. SBS 2003 R2 has allowed us to consolidate all those multiple customer visits down to one, providing our customers with a simpler, shorter buying process.”

Technology Innovation Accelerates New Partner Opportunities

At this year’s Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft executives also spoke about rolling out an unprecedented offering of products to customers and their channel partners and powering a new generation of solutions designed to empower individuals within an organization through its People-Ready initiative.

Partners have a vital role in this wave, and Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 serves as a key foundation with which partners can save time and money and have the opportunity to attract new customers and deepen existing customer relationships by providing an integrated, affordable platform on which to build a profitable business through services and IT consultancy.

“Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 combines server technologies that small businesses need into an integrated, low-priced solution,” said Tom Rich, president of Mount Hood Computer Services. “With SBS 2003 R2 installed, we’re able to monitor the server environments remotely. Every night we receive reports for each of our clients’ servers. Every morning we study the reports to check for major problems or necessary adjustments. With the Microsoft solutions available in SBS 2003 R2, we have the ability to log on remotely from any location to our clients’ server and make those adjustments very easily. SBS 2003 R2 allows us the flexibility to manage more clients than we could have otherwise, and provides our customers with the opportunity to have technical support at all times.”

“IDC estimates that over the next five years worldwide, more than a million small businesses will be looking to buy their first server,” said Janet Waxman, vice president of Hardware Channels and Alliances at IDC. “As such, the market opportunity for IT consultants, value-added resellers (VARs), and systems builders focused on the small-business segment has never been stronger.”

In conjunction with sales of SBS 2003 R2, VARs also have the opportunity to provide a wide range of value-added services to small-business owners who do not have in-house IT resources, such as maintenance, support, training, customizations, and the deployment of additional software and hardware, allowing VARs to develop lifelong customer relationships as trusted IT advisors while building an ongoing, predictable revenue stream. To enable partners to learn more about how to optimize additional business opportunities with SBS, Microsoft recently commissioned a series of studies through IDC titled “Paths to Opportunities With Windows Small Business Server 2003,” available online at https://partner.microsoft.com/IDCwhitepapers. Based on partner interviews conducted worldwide, these guides provide best practices and insights on ways to build a services-based business, create ongoing, predictable revenue streams, and illustrate to customers the benefits of working with SBS.

Microsoft is offering new tools and resources to assist partners in selling SBS 2003 R2 and serving their customers, including the Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Small Business Technology Assessment Toolkit, a step-by-step guide based on Microsoft partner best practices, to help partners identify the business and technology needs of small-business owners and lay the groundwork for long-term relationships. The toolkit provides business and technical assessment guides, proposal and planning templates, and sales and marketing tools for SBS 2003 R2 and Microsoft small-business products.

In addition, Microsoft announced a special offer at the Worldwide Partner Conference, giving partners the opportunity to earn one free, for-resale copy of SBS 2003 R2 Standard Edition by submitting five business assessments to Microsoft between mid-August 2006 and June 30, 2007. Partners can access the toolkit as a free download and learn more about the offer at https://partner.microsoft.com/sbs.

About Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2

A member of the Microsoft Windows Server family, Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 is tailored specifically to the needs of small businesses. Whether it is the first server or the center of a multiserver network, Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 is an ideal comprehensive and affordable solution for e-mail, fax, database and security technologies to help protect shared Internet access — all as one integrated solution with unified setup and centralized management. More information on Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/sbs for general product information; partner information and resources can be found at https://partner.microsoft.com/sbs.

About Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference

Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference provides Microsoft’s partner community with access to key marketing and business strategies, leadership, and information regarding specific customer solutions designed to help partners succeed in the marketplace. Along with informative learning opportunities covering sales, marketing, services and technology, the Worldwide Partner Conference is an ideal setting for partners to garner valuable knowledge from their peers and from Microsoft. More information can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/partner/events/wwpartnerconference.

About Microsoft

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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