Microsoft Plans New Small-Biz Channel Site

Wednesday it plans to launch a new online small business community. Making use of SharePoint for shared workspaces, the site will allow registered VARs or solution providers to tap into shared documents, sales tools and other partner resources as well as post questions and proposals, according to a post to the "E-bitz" Small Business Server Blog.

Community members will get access to promotional discounts for events, including an upcoming SharePoint Boot camp. Other posts tout the new OEM Office 2003 SP 1 rebate. Also listed are marketing opportunities for various regions and specialties.

The community appears to mimic some features and functions of community sites now hosted on Yahoo. "I love the concept and I hate having to go to Yahoo groups for community issues," said one east coast Microsoft solution provider partner.

The online community is the result of "a grassroots effort being driven by the Central Region Small Business team in response to partner feedback," according to a statement from Jennifer Bogdalek, Central Region Small Business General Manager for Microsoft

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For more information, go to the Microsoft small business site.

This report was updated Wednesday with Microsoft comments.