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Microsoft readies Web document software

The company plans to release a version of its Web document management software aimed at small and medium-size companies.

Microsoft has unveiled a lower-cost edition of its Web document management software for small and medium-size companies.

The slimmed-down version of Content Management Server, which is used to administer and publish Web documents, is essentially the same as the higher-priced enterprise edition, except for restrictions on how it can be used. The new server software, unveiled Wednesday, can only be used on a single-processor server, and the number of "content creators" who can use the tool will be limited to 15 people.

The company said that the standard edition of its Content Management Server 2002 will cost $6,999. The existing enterprise edition costs $42,000.

"Customers said they needed a scaled-back version for medium-sized organizations," Trina Seinfeld, product manager for e-business servers at Microsoft, said Thursday.

The software is set for release at the end of the calendar year. At the same time, Microsoft expects to deliver an addition that ties Content Management Server more closely to Microsoft's SharePoint Portal server, which is its Web portal creation and management software.

The "integration pack" will allow a company to route and approve documents in the SharePoint portal tools and publish them in Content Management Server and vice versa, Seinfeld said. The product, called Content Management Server 2002 Connector for SharePoint Technologies, will also allow people to publish documents created with the SharePoint Team services, a simple document-sharing tool in Windows Server 2003.

Content Management Server 2002 Connector for SharePoint Technologies will go into beta testing this week, Seinfeld said.

Also by the end of the year, Microsoft will create editions of its Content Management Server 2002 in Japanese, French and German. The update will work with Windows Server 2003.

Longer term, Microsoft plans to integrate Content Management Server with its BizTalk integration software and Commerce Server Web site development software. That initiative, code-named Jupiter, is expected to be completed as early as 2005, Seinfeld said.

The company has not yet decided whether it will continue to offer a standalone version of Content Management Server once the bundling is complete, Seinfeld said.