Microsoft, Novell Target SMB Market With Windows, Linux Bundles

Windows Linux

Both vendors sell small-business suites, yet their respective strategies for midmarket are different.

As part of its official rollout of Windows Server 2003 Release 2 (R2) last week, Microsoft announced an update of its existing midmarket bundle, which includes R2 and other Microsoft server products, at a discount price.

The updated Windows Server System Promotion includes three copies of Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition, one Exchange 2003 Standard Edition, one Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 Workgroup Edition and 50 Client Access Licenses (CALs) to Windows and Exchangeat a 20 percent discount.

Novell is going after the same segment in a different way. The Waltham, Mass.-based company last week launched a special offering for midmarket customers that combines products and services. Novell's Linux midmarket offering incorporates SUSE Enterprise Linux 9, online training and a choice of either standard or priority technical support at a fixed price.

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Partners applauded the moves because they enable midmarket customers to acquire Windows and Linux offerings at a discount and without licensing. "It is definitely a better value proposition for organizations with 50 to 250 nodes," said Kerry Mann, president of Mantralogix, a Microsoft partner in Mississauga, Ontario. "From a practical standpoint, all of the WAN-related enhancements would be useful for multisite installs.

"Our business focus has never been to deliver training and telephone technical support," said Terry Calloway, president of Data Technique, a Novell partner in Pittsburg, Kan. "The new Linux Product Services Bundle from Novell will only complement our own efforts to sell SUSE."

Yet there will be challenges. "A lot of midmarket customers have a lot of the infrastructure already," said Greg Gatzke, principal at ZAG Technical Services, a Microsoft Gold Partner in San Jose, Calif. "SBS is a no brainer and easy to sell. I don't know if [R2] will turn into as good as that."