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Microsoft tells SMBs Vista isn't a risky business

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Microsoft isn’t going to let the small detail of sluggish sales and take-up among businesses of its Windows Vista operating system get in the way of its latest attempt to woo the little guys.

Yesterday at its annual worldwide partner shindig in Houston the firm launched a new small biz (SMBs) marketing campaign aimed at flogging more copies of Vista to that market segment.

Dubbed Small Business Assurance, customers interested in, er, “moving to Windows Vista with confidence” will be offered free (albeit temporary) telephone-only technical support and a deployment planning website to companies with an employee headcount below 50 with less than 25 PCs.

And here’s the caveat: To qualify for the program, SMBs will need to upgrade to Vista Business or Ultimate between 1 July and 30 September this year.

The free support runs out at the end of October, said Microsoft, which over the past 24 hours has been on something of a face-saving crusade to convince world+dog that Vista isn’t the unloved ginger kid of the family.

To help “dispel myths” about the operating system, the company has also provided a new website – some 18 months after Vista landed – that should test out the compatibility of hardware kit and software apps with the OS.

However, anyone currently visiting the Windows Vista Compatibility Center website is greeted with a message that unhelpfully says it “will be launching soon, please check back!”.

Hmmm. When it finally arrives the site is supposed to calm the jangling nerves of SMBs newly acquainted with Vista by offering up case studies and quashing lingering fears about compatibility issues. Perhaps it will also play a tranquil whale song too if you’re really really lucky, but we can’t tell you as the website isn’t live yet.

Presumably the small biz world will wearily sniff around Microsoft’s latest offering, but convincing the little guys to sign up to a temporary program could prove to be a major stumbling block for the bruised software giant.

In the meantime, Microsoft insists: “Taking risks is a part of every small business, but making the move to the Windows Vista operating system isn't one of them.” ®

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