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Microsoft recalls small-business product

Company finds glitch in Small Business Server product after its release to computer makers.

REDMOND, Wash.--Microsoft said on Friday that it is recalling an update to its Small Business Server product because of a glitch found late in the manufacturing process.

The software maker said it found a problem with Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 after the product was released to computer makers but before it was made broadly available. Small Business Server is a product that combines the Windows Server operating system with the Microsoft Exchange e-mail server and other software. The R2 release is an update to the version that was finished in 2003.

"Recently, and during a regular audit as part of our software production process, Microsoft became aware of an issue with the containing nonfinal versions of a few core components," Microsoft said in a statement provided to CNET "Since Microsoft has only just released SBS 2003 R2 to our manufacturing partners (OEMs, system builders and distributors), and it is not yet generally available to customers, the scope of this concern for partners and customers is very limited."

Microsoft said it was recalling and would reissue the software, and general availability of the product would see a "minor delay."

"Our customers and partners are our first priority, and while a short delay in availability of SBS 2003 R2 is unfortunate, delivering the highest-quality Small Business Server product to our customers and partners is the right thing to do," Microsoft said.

One analyst said the fact that a glitch can show up so late in Microsoft's manufacturing process shows the challenges the software maker faces as its software becomes ever more complex. That challenge is heightened by the fact that the company no longer relies on burning all of its products to CDs; it doesn't have the luxury of taking that time to find bugs.

"This isn't really a stellar advertisement for Microsoft's plan to roll out more and more complex software through automatic update," Directions on Microsoft analyst Rob Helm said.

While this glitch affected just a few people, Helm said, a problem with something going out over Automatic Update could potentially affect millions of people. Microsoft said earlier this week that it would use the autoupdating utility to deliver Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP.