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Entrepreneurs and Experts Reveal Big Ideas at Microsoft’s Small Business Summit 2008


Microsoft highlights continuous customer-driven innovation, announces VoIP availability for small businesses with Response Point Service Pack 1.
Microsoft Corp. today kicked off its third annual Microsoft Small Business Summit, broadcasting live from Microsoft Studios to an expected crowd of 200,000 online participants nationwide. Over the next four days, more than 50 entrepreneurs and industry experts will define ways in which small-business owners can work smarter by revealing the latest trends and best practices for those who wear the many hats of the self-employed. Cindy Bates, general manager for U.S. Small Business at Microsoft, opened the event by acknowledging how Microsoft is working with customers to continually deliver innovation to the small-business community.

“Since the inception of the Small Business Summit, in 2006, we have delivered more than 20 products and services specifically designed to empower small-business owners,” Bates said. “Recognizing that companies with 50 or fewer employees may have limited IT resources, we look to deliver customer-driven innovation and solutions that enable self-employed people at any stage of growth to focus on running their small business. Today marks another milestone of our efforts to work with small-business owners to bring the right solutions to market with the upcoming availability of voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) on the Microsoft Response Point phone system.”

The availability this summer of a free feature update, Service Pack 1 (SP1), to Microsoft Response Point phone systems will enable U.S. small businesses to take advantage of VoIP. With Response Point SP1, small-business owners will have the flexibility to easily transition from traditional analog service to digital voice service, and within a few mouse clicks, can help improve their communications and cut business costs. According to small-business research firm Access Markets International (AMI) Partners Inc., a small business with 10 to19 employees can save an average of $8,000 in the first year by purchasing an IP-based phone system such as Response Point.

“Prior to the installation of Microsoft Response Point we had to call an outside technology expert, wait several days and pay a fee even for a simple addition such as adding a staff member,” said Neil Chasan, Response Point customer and owner of the Sports Reaction Center. “With Response Point we can make changes to our configuration simply and quickly.”

The rising adoption of software-as-a-service solutions among U.S. small businesses is being driven by the need for IT solutions that are easy to use, implement and maintain with limited resources. Microsoft’s software plus service approach brings together the best of desktop, mobile, server and Web environments to help maximize choice, flexibility and capabilities for customers.

These new Internet service-based offerings from Microsoft scale to meet the needs of small businesses without access to professional technical expertise as well as larger organizations with more system management requirements. Customers can custom-tailor Microsoft Dynamics solutions to deliver the optimal deployment of business processes that meet their needs through on-premise, partner-hosted and Microsoft-hosted on-demand offerings. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live, which will be broadly available in spring 2008, will extend Microsoft Dynamics CRM applications to the Web.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live will join Microsoft Office Live Small Business, Office Live Workspace and Windows Live OneCare for Server to provide small-business customers with a new generation of rich, seamless experiences that are personalized, compatible and available online virtually anywhere. Microsoft Office Accounting 2008 is a blend of software plus services, offering an on-premise accounting software application with online services such as eBay and ADP.

Windows Small Business Server 2008 is another anticipated release due later this year showcasing Microsoft’s software plus services strategy. The new version adds a range of features and capabilities to the current Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 product, including enhanced security and data protection technologies, compatibility with Microsoft Office Live Small Business for electronic marketing, and more tools to allow employees to work and collaborate while away from the office.


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