Microsoft adds Windows version for cheap servers

The software maker will start selling Windows Server "Foundation" for use on single-processor servers.

Microsoft announced a new server for small businesses, though one should not confuse it with a new version of the company's Small Business Server product.

The latter is a bundle of Windows Server and Exchange, among other things, for businesses with 50 or fewer people while the new product, Windows Server 2008 Foundation, is only the operating system and is aimed at single-processor servers with fewer than 15 users.

The new Windows version is Microsoft's answer to the server equivalent of Netbooks, ultra-low cost servers aimed at the smallest of businesses. The product will only be sold preinstalled on new machines.

CEO Steve Ballmer mentioned the product was coming and outlined the rationale at a meeting with financial analysts in February.

"From a revenue perspective, we are introducing a new low cost, low price, low functionality Windows server (version)," he said. "If you take a look at it, as server prices, hardware prices have come down, we don't exactly have a Netbook phenomenon, but if somebody can buy a $500 server, they're a little loathe to spend $500 for the server operating system that goes with it. So we have something that's akin to Netbook at the server level, and we'll be introducing our Foundation edition over the next month or two."

Microsoft also said that, through the end of September, it will donate a portion of its revenue from Windows Server Foundation to TechSoup.org and Telecentre.org, two groups that help bring technology to nonprofit organizations.

"We see this as an opportunity not only to deliver a technical foundation for business growth, but also to create a financial foundation for community," Ballmer said in a statement on Wednesday.

 

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