Microsoft is drumming up its channel troops in preparation for the launch of its SME network software, Small Business Server 2000, slated for release on February 20.
It will be the third-generation release of its network software designed for companies with 50 devices or less, and Microsoft officials are positioning it as a strong reseller sell.
"Small Business Server  is extremely channel-dependent," says Mark Linton, product marketing manager of Small Business for Microsoft, "because they have the relationship with the customer."
Microsoft is targeting the estimated 180,000 SMEs in Australia in the 10-50 PC range and, according to Linton, the product suite provides a lot of functionality at a low price point.
Small Business Server 2000 will retail for around $3200 and features Microsoft's Windows 2000 Server operating system and a number of the vendor's .NET enterprise applications such as Outlook 2000, Exchange 2000 and Web authoring tool Frontpage 2000.
Linton claims the software provides a host of components increasingly necessary for small businesses such as e-mail, Internet connection, file and fax sharing, and fax from desktop capabilities. Furthermore, the Server can also be partially deployed with components activated upon request.
This provides the reseller with an opportunity to scale the customer's infrastructure as the customer grows, added Linton.
Microsoft is currently in negotiations with a number of hardware and complementary software vendors to offer financed bundles, claims Linton.
The software vendor is currently hosting a number of road shows and training seminars to prepare resellers for the launch.
For more information on Microsoft Hotlabs training see: www.microsoft. com/australia/directaccess