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Microsoft launches second BI beta

Microsoft introduced a second beta version of its business intelligence package for servers on Tuesday.

Microsoft introduced a second beta version of its business intelligence package for servers on Tuesday. Dubbed Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005, the test version of the product, formerly code-named Maestro, is being made available for free download at the company's Web site.

Company officials cited the BI offering, due out sometime this fall, as an important piece of the software maker's Information Worker effort, which is aimed at arming people with more effective productivity tools. Microsoft views the BI applications segment as a $3 billion to $4 billion a year market, and said previously that it hopes to compete more closely with established players in the space including Business Objects, Cognos and Hyperion. The package, which generates reports for business managers on a company's performance, requires the use of several other Microsoft programs, including the company's database program, SQL Server and SharePoint data-sharing tool.