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Microsoft rejigs Windows pricing for midsize companies

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Microsoft wants to attract midsize companies to its server software, but how far is it willing to bend?

A new Windows Server System promotion lets midsized businesses pick up three copies of Windows Server 2003, one Exchange Server 2003 and one Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 at a 20 per cent cut off the Open License program prices. But while the discount is nice, it's hard to imagine that many customers will fit into the narrow scope Microsoft has set for the program.

Customers with between 25 and 500 PCs can apply for the discount, and they'll receive 50 combination client access licenses (CALs) for Windows Server and Exchange as well for their efforts. The promotion officially begins in August for the US and Europe and in September for Asia.

Redmond used a rather haphazard canned quotation to boast about the new package.

"Midsize businesses tend to characterize themselves by the industry they are in - not by the technologies they need and use,” said Steven VanRoekel, a director at Microsoft. “By marrying our small-business expertise with our enterprise products, Microsoft is showing midsize business customers that we understand their unique technology needs. The Windows Server System promotion gives midsize businesses the confidence that their systems are stable and finally allows them to view IT as a strategic investment.”

That's a flattering way to attract all those midsized business that have been frittering away their money on unstable systems such as . . . . Well, you know.

Anyhow, if you have between 25 and 500 PCs, need three copies of Windows Server, could use another copy of MOM and really want one more Exchange license, then there's a 20 per cent price cut available just for you.

So even though midsize companies don't have tons of money to throw around on their data centers, they're expected to roll out a legal whiz to decide if the new licensing terms actually beat out old ones and an engineer to figure out if Microsoft's exact discount specifications can be crammed into a rigid server room.

Good times? Are you saving money? ®

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