Microsoft sharpens Longhorn for SMEs

This time we really mean it

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Microsoft has admitted its products have neglected the unique needs of small businesses in the past but claims this will all change with the release of Longhorn.

However, the vendor also admits it still needs to do a lot of work to educate its channel, as well as users, before it can expect to tap into the almost legendary motherlode that is the SME market.

Brad Goldberg, general manager for Microsoft’s Windows client business group, told El Reg that previous Microsoft operating systems had not done “anything unique for small businesses”. However, he said, in a first for Microsoft the Longhorn development process has included a “dedicated engineering perspective” on small business needs.

He said Longhorn features such as security, backup, and peer to peer networking would deliver specific benefits for SMEs. At the same time new features in the operating system, such as its web services capabilities or its management capabilities, should throw up new SME opportunities for ISV or services providers.

By presenting a more compelling product for small business Microsoft should also be able to persuade them standardize on a single operating system, Goldberg claimed.

While large corporates have a typical refresh cycle of three to four years, small businesses typically renew every four to six, said Goldberg, in effect only upgrading their software when they bought a new PC. This meant that as they expand, they end up with a range of operating systems as new systems were installed alongside older boxes.

But even if Microsoft does succeed in putting together a compelling SME argument for Longhorn, it still faces a challenge getting it across. Traditional corporate resellers are unlikely to get excited about chasing multiple deals covering just a handful of PCs each. At the same time, retailers typically want to get best value deals on their shelves, which often means having the consumer version of the operating system rather than the Pro version. Upselling to a higher spec version will typically be more trouble than it’s worth.

“There’s a lot of small businesses today who buy the wrong products,” said Goldberg.

Janet Gibbons, Microsoft UK's Windows Client product manager, said the vendor had to educate both retailers and small businesses on why consumer operating systems aren’t appropriate for smaller shops.

The vendor has not announced pricing for Longhorn, though it has committed to not charging a premium for either 64 bit support or dual core in its operating systems. Goldberg said yesterday that Longhorn will be priced in the same bands as its current OS line. ®

Related stories

Microsoft's Metro takes on Adobe
Microsoft reveals hardware security plans
Longhorn is big - no, this time we mean it
New Microsoft Longhorn chief is indigestion expert

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
Nearby Friends feature goes live in a few weeks
prev story


Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.