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Windows Small Business Server 2003 released to manufacturing

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Microsoft begins distributing final code for the its Windows Small Business Server 2003 to manufacturing this week.

Targeting what it describes as the "underserved" SME market, the software giant said the server OS is designed for small corporate environments where there is little or no dedicated in-house IT expertise.

According to Microsoft the "new level of simplicity" which the operating system delivers through expanded use of set up wizards will help to make it appealing to small firms that previously have shied away from rolling out a server OS because of fears over complexity and cost.

The offering, which can supports up to 50 client computers, comes in two flavours Standard and Premium. Both combine the core Windows Server 2003 operating systems with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 groupware product, fax tools and the firm's SharePoint collaborative working application.

However, the Premium version comes with extra goodies including the SQL Server 2000 database, FrontPage 2003 html package and Microsoft's Internet Security and Acceleration Server (ISA Server). Full details can be found here.

Bill Veghte, corporate vice president of the Windows Server Group at Microsoft, claimed the OS and bundled applications "delivers the benefits of enterprise-quality computing to small businesses".

It's worth noting that only the Standard edition is available as the release candidate, but a free preview kit with this Standard edition code, plus a CD extolling the virtues of the Premium edition can be ordered from: here.

The final retail Standard and Premium versions will begin shipping commercially next month. ®

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